* PGNiG had shunned foreign partners
* Marks change in strategy for state-controlled firm
* Also in shale talks with three state-controlled firms
By Maciej Onoszko
March 29 Polish gas monopoly PGNiG
said on Thursday it was in talks with a foreign partner to help
develop shale gas, marking a change in the state-controlled
The company's Deputy Chief Executive Marek Karabula declined
to provide specific details but said a foreign partner would
bring both expertise and capital to future shale exploration and
PGNiG had shunned foreign parters and had not shared its
"We are in contact with one foreign partner," Karabula told
reporters on the sidelines of a shale gas conference.
PGNiG had discussions last year with another foreign firm
but talks collapsed after both sides agreed lack of geological
data made it too early to strike a deal, he added.
While a government study last week showed Poland's shale gas
reserves are about one-tenth the size of previous estimates, the
European Union nation still has enough to meet domestic demand
Foreign firms including Exxon Mobil, Chevron
and Marathon have put down stakes in Poland.
Both Poland and the European Union are keen to find ways to
diversify imports away from Russia, which provides around a half
of Poland's gas consumption and some 25 percent of EU
Karabula's comments came as Poland's Treasury Minister
Mikolaj Budzanowski, the driving force behind Poland's shale gas
push, said on Thursday that Polish companies should seek
partners both inside and outside the country's borders.
In January, PGNiG signed a letter of intent with the
country's top utilities PGE and Tauron, as
well as copper miner KGHM, on co-operation in shale
"The aim of this enterprise is to build a gas mine with 12
production wells," Karabula said. "We are talking about concrete
Earlier this week, PGNiG launched fresh shale gas drilling
in the southeast of the country.
The state-owned group holds 15 of 109 shale gas exploration
licences awarded by Poland in the past few years. Some foreign
companies involved in shale gas exploration in Poland have
complained that state-controlled PGNiG has been reluctant to
share geological documentation.