PGNiG launches test production on 1 bcm gas field
WARSAW Aug 16 (Reuters) - Poland's state-controlled gas monopoly PGNiG started test production on a 1 billion cubic meter (bcm) gas field on Thursday, hoping to start commercial extraction in 2013.
PGNiG said it would provide a more precise figure for the deposit's geological and recoverable resources, as well as the level of potential output, in the next several weeks.
Poland, which consumes more than 14 bcm of gas annually, is eager to reduce reliance on Russia, which provides more than half of the former Soviet-bloc nation's supplies.
The Polish gas monopoly also hopes access to more supplies from local deposits will help increase its leverage in talks with Russia's Gazprom over prices.
Poland believes Gazprom is selling it natural gas at a highly uncompetitive rate and has taken the company to international arbitration to try to get the rate reduced.
The European Union nation has also been pursuing shale gas after a 2011 study by the U.S. Energy Information Association estimated Poland's reserves at 5.3 trillion cubic metres.
But a Polish study published earlier in 2012 pegged recoverable shale gas reserves at a much lower level of between 346 billion and 768 bcm. (Reporting by Maciej Onoszko; Editing by Michael Kahn and David Holmes)
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