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NEW PAPER: Fracking in Poland

Updated: May 27, 2021

How Many Wells? Exploring the Scope of Shale Gas Production for Achieving Gas Self-Sufficiency in Poland

Poland has been estimated to possess large volumes of technically recoverable shale gas resources, which has raised national hopes for increasing energy security and building export capacity. In this paper, we aim to examine political claims and hopes that Poland could achieve natural gas self-sufficiency and even become a gas exporter by harnessing domestic shale potential. We do so by relying on well-by-well production experience from the Barnett Shale in the USA to explore what scope of shale gas extraction, in terms of the number of wells, would likely be required to achieve such national expectations. With average well productivity equal to the Barnett Shale, at least 420 wells per year would be necessary to meet the domestic demand of 20 Bcm in 2030. Adding Poland’s potential export capacity of five Bcm of gas per year would necessitate at least 540 wells per year. Such a significant amount of drilling and hydraulic fracturing would require reconsideration and verification of national energy security plans and expectations surrounding shale gas production. A more informed public debate on technical aspects of extraction would be required, as extensive fracking operations could potentially have implications in terms of environmental risks and local land-use conflicts.

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