Last Friday, Exxon Mobil (NYSE: XOM) and Poland’s PKN Orlen announced Exxon has agreed to sell two gas exploration licenses to the Polish company.
Per Reuters, it appears that Exxon’s test wells in Poland didn’t produce as expected, and Exxon accordingly dropped its exploration projects in Poland back in June.
Exxon had six exploratory licenses in the region and so far has already let go of three. The PKN deal takes care of another two, leaving the last one hanging in the balance.
Poland’s environmental ministry needs to sign off on the deal, but if approval goes through, PNK will hold 10 gas exploration licenses. Between 2013-2017, PKN hopes to invest some $1.6 billion into shale gas exploration projects.
Russian oil giant Gazprom provides a sizable portion of gas needs to Central and Eastern Europe. But some nations believe they are bullied by Russia’s dominance, so it is in Poland’s best interest to become more self-reliant.
A 2011 U.S. study estimated Poland’s gas reserves at nearly 5.3 trillion cubic meters—enough for that country’s entire demand for three centuries—but a new Polish government report in March dashed such hopes by reducing estimates to a mere tenth of that.
Still, successful development of the shale deposits would mean a great deal as far as Polish energy is concerned.