Breitling Oil and Gas Corp., an independent U.S. energy producer, said it held talks with companies in U.K. and Polish about acquiring shale gas licenses.
While Europe “has the biggest chance after America” to develop its shale gas resources, the lack of infrastructure and regulation will postpone commercial production to at least 2015, Chris Faulkner, chief executive officer of Breitling Oil and Gas, said in an interview.
Faulkner said the company has held talks with several companies in U.K. and Poland for both consultancy services and buying stakes in shale licenses. The development of shale resources in Europe has trailed the U.S. because of higher costs, concerns drilling pollutes drinking water and a lack of rigs for exploration.
“Even if Poland drills tomorrow they would have nowhere to sell, they have no infrastructure,” Faulkner said, whose company produces oil and gas from shale fields in North Dakota and Oklahoma. “That’s the big challenge, I am more optimistic about what’s happening in U.K.”
ConocoPhillips bought a 70 percent stake in three western Baltic Basin licenses this year from shale gas explorer 3Legs Resources. Exxon Mobil Corp. returned some of its licenses in Poland on concern that the country’s shale potential was over-estimated.
U.K. Energy Minister John Hayes said in October the U.K. plans to allow companies to resume shale gas exploration this year, while the Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne has promised tax breaks to encourage the development of shale reserves.
Companies with licenses in areas possibly holding shale-gas resources in the U.K. include IGas Energy Plc, Dart Energy Ltd., BG Group Plc, Celtique Energie Ltd., Reach Coal Seam Gas Ltd., and Cuadrilla Resources Ltd., according to the Department of Energy.
Cuadrilla, which stopped drilling after causing two earthquakes last year, estimates it has more than 200 trillion cubic meters of shale gas beneath its acreage close to the city of Blackpool.