BNK Petroleum Said to Seek Partner for Polish Shale Licenses

BNK Petroleum Inc. (BKX), a producer of oil and natural gas in the U.S., is seeking a partner for a unit that owns three shale gas-exploration licenses in Poland, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.

The company has offered a minority stake in Indiana Sp. z o.o., which owns the Darlowo, Trzebielino and Bytow licenses in the Baltic basin in northern Poland, as it seeks help to finance the drilling, said the people, who declined to be identified because the information is confidential.

“We’ve always considered potential partnerships,” Camarillo, California-based BNK Chief Executive Officer Wolf E. Regener said today by telephone, adding that no decisions have been made. “Our strategy hasn’t changed.”

BNK and companies including Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM), Chevron Corp. (CVX) and Talisman Energy Inc. (TLM) bought more than 100 licenses sold by Poland’s government. The eastern European country, which is seeking to reduce its reliance on Russian gas, may hold enough fuel trapped in shale to meet its needs for 300 years, the U.S. Department of Energy said in April.

BNK has to drill three wells on the licenses by September and contracted a rig to start drilling in the first quarter of 2012, the company said Nov. 10.

Last month, BNK said hydraulic fracturing of an exploration well was unsuccessful on a Polish license held by Saponis Investments Sp. z o.o., in which the explorer has a minority stake. Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, involves the injection of water, sand and chemicals to release the trapped gas. BNK shares fell 26 percent after the announcement.

The first wells in the Baltic Basin had flow rates below those seen at fields in the U.S., in part because of pressure in the shale rock, analysts at Bernstein Research said Nov. 10.

To contact the reporter on this story: Marek Strzelecki in Warsaw mstrzelecki1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephen Voss at sev@bloomberg.net

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