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A Warning for Poland's Shale Gas Developers

I am leaving for Krakow, Poland, early this morning.

During this trip, I will present what we have learned thus far in North American shale gas development before a meeting organized by the Polish government and chaired by President Bronisław Komorowski.

What will take place in that room, however, is more than a simple exchange of data.

The Shale Gas Revolution Has Hit Eastern Europe

It began only a few years ago, in places like Texas, Arkansas, British Columbia, Alberta, and Pennsylvania... but the shale gas revolution is now sweeping the world.

To date, 142 basins and more than 680 shale plays have been discovered worldwide. In them are sitting a mind-boggling 6.6 quadrillion cubic feet of natural gas. Even if only 10% of that can be lifted, we are still looking at huge new reserves.

Europe has its fair share of these basins, with five major ones located in Poland alone. And that is the reason for the meetings this week.

The government in Warsaw is about to open up these shale plays to major investment.
Before they do so, however, the authorities must set regulations for drilling, determine what environmental impact will take place, weigh the potential economic benefits and problems, and discuss how this newfound energy wealth is going to change lives.

Turns out that's pretty much my job in Krakow; I will be advising on the policy challenges in each of these areas.

Still, they are not likely to expect my first comment...

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