LONDON Jan 23 Gas explorer San Leon Energy
announced a successful shale test in Poland on
Thursday, saying the project was the most commercially advanced
in the country, improving prospects for Polish shale gas.
San Leon said an initial test at a site near the northern
city of Gdansk revealed a potential yield of up to 400,000 cubic
feet per day (about 11,300 cubic metres) of gas and that the
total would rise to millions of cubic feet per day after further
"We've basically cracked the nut in terms of the recipe, in
terms of how to frack," Executive Chairman Oisin Fanning told
Reuters, referring to the controversial process of pumping sand,
water and chemicals at high pressure into shale formations deep
"Several million cubic feet of gas a day is what we're
expecting," he said, adding that an announcement on flow rates,
which are expected to be at a commercial level, would be made
within 60 days.
Three years ago, strong company interest in what were
estimated to be huge reserves trapped in Polish shale formations
led the government to hope that Poland could replicate the U.S.
But a downgrade in reserves estimates and the exit of three
big energy companies, Exxon Mobil, Talisman Energy
and Marathon, have since cast doubts on
Fanning said that San Leon, which began fracking in Poland
in July 2013, had succeeded where others had failed through the
use of a different kind of proppant, the sand grain used to keep
hydraulic fractures open.
"Everybody in Poland today ... found that our proppant was
getting crushed," Fanning said.
"This time we used ceramic proppant, like little marbles.
They're hard, it keeps them open, it doesn't get crushed," he
Shares in Dublin-based San Leon, which has a market
capitalisation of around 100 million pounds ($166 million), were
up 9.3 percent to 4.35 pence at 1319 GMT.
Chevron and ConocoPhillips are the only
global players left in Poland's shale sector.
Last August, Conoco subsidiary Lane Energy Poland said it
was extracting about 8,000 cubic metres of shale gas per day at
a test well in northern Poland, which it said did not yet
qualify as commercial production.
Italy's Eni will pull out of Poland due to unclear
regulation and tough geology, sources told Reuters earlier this
month. Eni did not comment.
($1 = 0.6030 British pounds)
(editing by Jane Baird)