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Poland discovers major new natural gas deposit
by Staff Writers
Warsaw (AFP) June 28, 2011

Gas prospectors in Poland have discovered new deposits estimated at 100 billion cubic metres which could double the country's domestic resources, Economy Minister Waldemar Pawlak said Tuesday.

"If the estimates of experts are confirmed, the deposits in the region of Kutno would double our reserves," Pawlak said in a statement, referring to a part of central Poland.

Poland's proven natural gas deposits total around 95.5 billion cubic metres, which help cover around 30 percent of its current annual consumption of 14 billion cubic metres.

Supplies from Russia account for more than 40 percent and the rest is imported from a range of other countries.

The Kutno deposits seem similar to the rich reserves in the Netherlands and Britain's North Sea gas fields, Piotr Gliniak from Polish gas group PGNiG told the newspaper Rzeczpospolita.

Drilling to a depth of 6.5 kilometres (four miles) is due to start in August.

Poland is not just focusing on conventional natural gas, but also aims to tap shale-gas reserves despite concerns that hydraulic fracturing used in extraction is environmentally risky.

Experts estimate the shale-gas deposits could produce some 5.3 trillion cubic metres of natural gas, which would allow Poland to reduce its reliance on coal for electricity production and its dependence on Russian gas supplies.

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