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Poland Sees Norway as Model to Benefit From Shale Gas Output

Poland hopes to benefit from prospective shale gas output and may pass laws similar to those that helped Norway build its sovereign wealth fund, Economy Minister Waldemar Pawlak said.

“In Norway oil and gas deposits allowed it to create funds that accumulate money for the future,” Pawlak told a news conference today. “We will also need this type of solution.”

Norway, a nation of 4.9 million people, generates money for its $570 billion sovereign wealth fund from taxes on oil and gas, ownership of petroleum fields and dividends from its 67 percent stake in Statoil ASA, the country’s largest energy company.

Poland has awarded 87 licenses to companies including Exxon Mobil Corp., Chevron Corp. and Talisman Energy Inc. to explore for gas trapped in shale rocks. The country’s recoverable reserves of shale gas may amount to 5.2 trillion cubic meters, enough to supply more than 300 years of domestic consumption, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The companies have so far drilled fewer than 10 exploratory wells of the required 124, and they plan to conduct commercial tests later this year.

Pawlak said commercial output of shale gas should precede passage of any laws aimed at helping Poland reap greater benefits from the resource.

“Gas should start flowing before we prepare new regulations for commercial output,” he said.

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