Poland could ease shale gas taxation 'slightly' -minister

ZAWIERCIE, Poland Fri Jan 18, 2013 10:27am EST

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ZAWIERCIE, Poland Jan 18 (Reuters) - Poland's planned tax on oil and gas exploration could be less than the 40-percent of the sector's gross profit approved by the government last year, Environment Minister Marcin Korolec said on Friday.

Poland hopes to capitalise on the production of shale gas but the government's plans for a hefty tax put forward in October has been criticised by representatives of some licence holders.

"The tax on gas and oil exploration will not vary much from what was approved by the government in October and it will definitely not exceed the 40 percent of the sector's gross profits. It might turn out to be slightly lower," Korolec told Reuters.

Korolec said the draft law for the new tax would be published in the coming days.

Poland granted 113 shale exploration licences to domestic and global firms, including Chevron Corp and Marathon Oil Group.

It had high hopes for domestic shale gas after a 2011 study by the U.S. Energy Information Association estimated its reserves at 5.3 trillion cubic metres, enough to cover domestic demand for around 300 years.

But Poland's own study slashed the estimate for recoverable shale gas reserves to between 346 billion and 768 billion cubic metres.

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