Poland: E&P Expected to Invest in Communities
Local authorities in Northern Poland expect oil and gas companies to support investments in local infrastructure, education, culture and leisure.
New studies paint a picture of the expectations and concerns of authorities, companies and residents in Pomorze.
One of the studies, among councils and license holders, was conducted by the regional government. The other, among residents, by the market research company PBS and commissioned by the state-controlled gas company PGNiG.
The first survey suggests that majority of local councils hope companies will support their investments financially.
According to the study, license holders are not only expected to respect environment and health requirements, but also supposed to finance the construction of roads, sports and recreational facilities, as well as cultural events.
In addition, local councils in Pomorze are looking forward for lower prices of locally produced gas.
At the same time, over two thirds of council declares they anticipate negative impact of shale gas development on residents’ health, local roads, land value and water quality.
Companies complain about incoherent regulations, dispersion of decision making power, excessive number of permits and procedures and lengthy decision-taking processes.
Concession holders also point to lack of infrastructure for processing and transport and lack of good quality roads required for the transport of heavy equipment.
Another stated problem is an insufficient number of licensed facilities equipped with installations for utilization of extraction waste.
The study suggests that licensees in the region expect local authorities to speed up administrative decisions and facilitate contacts with local communities, to ease fears and reluctance.
The other survey measured support for shale gas development amongst local inhabitants. According to the poll, three quarters of residents support the development of shale gas in the region.
Furthermore, 80 percent of respondents declare they believe that shale gas production will increase employment in the region and improve standards of living.
At the same time, 40 percent of repondents say they fear pollution.
A PBS representative emphasizes that Pomorze is characterized by an exceptional level of public confidence.
“Compared to countrywide data, they are more convinced that shale gas extraction is safe and that benefits outweight the threats” commented Agnieszka Burska Wojtkunska, marketing manager at the PBS.
40 exploration wells have been drilled in Poland thus far, with half of them in Pomorze. The list of the companies holding concessions in the region include BNK Petroleum, Eni, Lane Energy, Marathon Oil, PGNiG, San Leon, Talisman Energy.
Over a dozen of wells are planned for this year in the region this year.
The regional authorities are launching a special program of consultation and cooperation between the regional government, communities and companies. Natural Gas Europe will report on this program soon.