Poland dreams of energy independence — through fracking

Eager to end reliance on Russian natural gas, and largely untroubled by environmentalists, Polish officials are embracing hydraulic fracturing to unlock potentially huge deposits beneath their soil.

Henry Chu
Los Angeles Times

GDANSK, Poland — Dreams of freedom from Soviet oppression were nurtured and realized in the shipyards of this seaside city, where the Solidarity movement that helped tear down the Iron Curtain was born.

Now, Poles are having new fantasies of throwing off Russian domination. But this time the road to independence lies more than a mile beneath their feet.

If geologists are right, up to 768 billion cubic meters of natural gas sits trapped in shale deposits deep beneath the surface in Poland, enough to meet the country’s needs for the next 50 years and more. The estimates have tantalized Poles with visions of ending their reliance on Russian gas, which warms them through harsh winters but puts them at the mercy of their former masters far more than they would like.

Exploiting these underground resources, though, will mean a lot of noisy, water-intensive and potentially harmful “fracking,” or hydraulic fracturing, the process of shooting chemical solutions mixed with sand into the shale to prize it open and release the gas. It’s a controversial practice: Concern about ill effects such as groundwater contamination has led to a ban on fracking in countries such as France and Bulgaria and in the state of Vermont.

But here in Poland, officials excited by the prospect of energy independence and largely untroubled by environmentalists are embracing it with a passion.

So are the foreign companies that have stampeded into Poland to stake claims in what one American participant happily describes as a “land grab.”…

The article continues at the LA Times.

Also, Dangers from fracking ‘very low’ if done correctly, at the Irish Times.

Both article H/T Phelim McAleer on Facebook.

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