WARSAW Oct 3 Poland wants its new shale gas law
to go into force next year, Piotr Wozniak, the deputy
environment minister responsible for the draft law said on
Wednesday, but added that it would be best if a shale gas tax
waited until at least 2016.
Poland, which aims to be Europe's shale gas pioneer, has
postponed publication of its legal framework for the development
of the potentially lucrative energy resource several times in
the past few months.
Discussions over a shale gas tax were causing the delays,
Wozniak told state-owned press agency PAP in an interview.
The new law is being prepared together by the Environment
Ministry and the Finance Ministry.
"The bill can be applicable as of 2013. If we publish the
draft this or next month, oil and gas companies will have a
chance to prepare their business plans for next year based on
transparent rules," Wozniak said.
"Our tax regime must be competitive with Danish, Dutch,
Norwegian, German, French or Italian tax rates ...That is why we
want new taxation on extraction to start being applicable no
sooner than at the beginning of 2016."
Wozniak added that accelerating exploration is a key goal
for Poland as this could hasten commercial production of shale
gas, helping reduce Poland's dependence on gas imports from
Poland's eastern neighbour supplies a quarter of the gas
used by the European Union.
Poland granted 111 shale exploration licences to ExxonMobil
, Chevron and other firms, even as other
countries, including France and Bulgaria, halted shale
exploration pending further environmental studies.
Poland, a member of the European Union, had high hopes for
shale after a study by the U.S. Energy Information Association
in 2011 estimated Polish reserves at 5.3 trillion cubic metres,
enough to cover domestic demand for some 300 years.
But estimated reserves were slashed to about a tenth of that
in a government report published in March.
ExxonMobil in June decided to drop its Polish exploration