EU court rules Polish shale licences illegal
PR dla Zagranicy
The European Court of Justice has ruled that Poland violated EU directives by issuing licences for exploitation of the country's shale gas potential without fully open tenders.
The ruling could have grave consequences for Poland, with the country's current policy aimed at protecting exploration licence holders' interests by issuing subsequent production licenses without tenders.
Poland's government is currently working on an amendment to its 'Geological and Mining' law that would consolidate this preferential system.
The original case against Poland was lodged by the EC in March 2010.
Since 2007, over 100 exploratory licenses have been issued by the Polish government, to both local and international companies.
Nevertheless, two major international concerns, Exxon Mobil and Talisman Energy, have already dropped out of the programme, and there are fears that there could be further departures, if laws concerning taxation and drilling are not clarified.
The Gazeta Wyborcza daily has forecast that Poland could now face paying extensive damages for flouting EU directives.
Poland is striving to broaden its energy portfolio, partly in a bid to become less dependent on Russian natural gas.
However, last month, US's Energy Information Administration (EIA) echoed recent assessments that suggested that Poland's shale gas resources are smaller than initially believed.
In its latest report, the EIA lowered its estimated from 187 trillion to 148 trillion cubic feet. (nh)