* Poland concerned by exits of several foreign firms
* Had planned for taxes, levies to total about 40 pct of
WARSAW May 22 Poland will not collect taxes on
the production of shale gas until 2020 to make its extraction
more financially attractive after several foreign players quit
the Polish market in the past few months, the finance minister
Poland's government is determined to make a success of shale
gas to cut its dependence on natural gas imported from former
occupier Russia, but attracting investors grew harder after the
country drastically scaled back estimates for reserves.
Exxon Mobil, Canada's Talisman Energy and
U.S. oil firm Marathon, all quit their Polish shale gas
operations, with some of them citing uncertainty about the
regulatory environment as a factor.
"The law on the taxation of shale gas will go into effect in
2015, but we will not levy the tax until 2020 to attract
companies to extract shale gas," Finance Minister Jacek
Rostowski said in a speech on Wednesday.
The finance ministry has previously said taxes and levies on
gas and oil exploration would total about 40 percent of the
sector's profits from 2015, positioning Poland as a more
attractive investment than Norway, Britain and Australia.
The departure of several players put pressure on the
government to make the terms more favourable if it is to meet
its ambition of being Europe's biggest producer of shale gas.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration originally
estimated Polish shale gas reserves at 5.3 trillion cubic
metres, but this was subsequently revised downwards to about a
tenth of that figure.
Early drilling suggested it would be more difficult to
extract, significantly raising costs for the producers.
Foreign players are also concerned about the uncertain legal
and regulatory framework, potentially crippling red tape and
About 40 test wells are in operation, though none is
expected to start producing gas before 2015.