* Draft shale gas law to be ready within weeks- minister
* Government to discuss law before end-Dec
* Shale gas tax law to be in a separate draft later on
WARSAW, Nov 26 Poland's environment ministry
will prepare a draft law to regulate the exploration and
extraction of shale gas and send it to the government for
approval before the end of the year, its new environment
Maciej Grabowski added that speeding up the extraction of
shale gas was one of his priorities, and passing the bill would
make investing in shale easier.
"I believe that one can achieve environmental goals by tying
them to economic goals in a way more friendly for investors,"
Grabowski told newspaper Dziennik Gazeta Prawna.
"We would like the law facilitating investment in shale to
be passed as soon as possible to reduce the potential risk for
investors," he said.
However, Grabowski added that the law on shale gas taxes
would be prepared by the finance ministry in a separate bill
Poland had counted on an expected abundance of shale gas to
boost growth and reduce its reliance on Russian oil and gas.
But investors, already jolted by the government's
conservative revision of shale reserves estimates, have grown
concerned about its protracted work on a tax and regulation
regime announced in October last year.
ExxonMobil has already decided to abandon its Polish
plans, although other global players such as Chevron and
ConocoPhilips remain determined to extract
unconventional gas in Poland.
Grabowski said that Poland needed to drill 3 to 4 times more
exploration wells to know if commercial extraction of shale gas
"200 to 250 wells will allow us to find out if commercial
extraction is realistic," he said.
The new minister, who is to be formally sworn in later on
Wednesday, added that Poland was ready to form an alliance
within the European Union, possibly with the United Kingdom, to
defend its right to explore and extract shale gas against any
possible plans of the EU parliament.
"I know what is happening in Brussels, some concern is
warranted," Grabowski said. "If there is need we will act in an
unambiguous way on many front lines and create coalitions to
back our position."