Globalne perspektyw rozwoju wydobycia gazu ziemnego z szeroko rozumianych niekonwencjonalnych źródeł

W dniach 1-2 kwietnia 2016 r. Kenan-Flagler Energy Center z Uniwersytetu w Północnej Karolinie (The UNC Kenan-Flagler Energy Center) zorganizowało warsztat zamknięty – międzynarodową konferencję nt. globalnych perspektyw rozwoju wydobycia gazu ziemnego z szeroko rozumianych niekonwencjonalnych źródeł, oczywiście z naciskiem na formacje łupkowe – poprowadzoną zgodnie z zasadami „Chatham House Rule[1]”.

Na szczeblu członka zarządu pojawili się wszyscy, także ci wielcy, którzy opuścili polskie  łupkowe koncesje. Ale byli i ci, którzy znowu myślą o ewentualnym powrocie do Polski. Szkoda, że nikt z polskich władz i przedstawicieli przemysłu nie skorzystał  z wielokrotnie ponawianych przez stronę  amerykańską zaproszeń…[2] Piszemy o tym ponownie szerzej, bo właśnie ukazał się raport “Global Frac’ing – What Has to Change for It to Be a Game Changer?”

ISE_Global Frac’ing Conference Report – Final


Global Frac’ing – What Has to Change for It to Be a Game Changer?

UNC Kenan-Flagler Conference, April 1-2, 2016
Executive Summary – Overall Findings
• Presently, no location outside the United States Is ‘in the money’ for the production of oil via hydraulic fracturing. Certain locations, notably Argentina and the U.K., could be ‘in the money’ today as regards the production of natural gas from unconventional resource plays. This disparity is due to international natural gas fetching higher prices because they are pegged to LNG import prices, that natural gas can play a positive role in climate-change policies, and that international issues of gas supply security can be acute.
• Argentina and the U.K. will thus be ‘precedent-setting locations.’ Argentina will demonstrate whether a land richly-endowed with unconventional resources but with a checkered political risk history can provide investors with an attractive, sustainable development framework. The U.K. will demonstrate whether frac’ing can be rendered politically sustainable in developed countries where community opposition and environmental sensitivities present barriers.
• A wide variety of geologic and ‘above ground’ issues, compounded by current low prices, is responsible for the limited unconventional exploration activity to date. These barriers will not be overcome by a simple migration of improved U.S. techniques and technologies. Some of recent U.S. gains are cyclical in nature and others rely on a highly competitive services industry. Comparable industry structures for frac’ing do not exist outside the U.S. and possibly Canada. The conference estimated that only 10-20% of recent U.S. cost economies are likely ‘exportable’ and sustainable. Non-U.S. locations will thus have to pay more attention to their regulatory and fiscal regimes if they are to overcome a less favorable industry cost structure.
• As a general rule, non-U.S. locations have not designed either their regulatory or their fiscal regimes to incentivize unconventional development. Existing regimes do not take into account frac’ing’s unique characteristics, and thus present unintended barriers.
• More customized regulatory and fiscal regimes would help overcome another barrier, the lack of exploration data in many prospective locations. Countries like the U.K., Poland and Mexico have interesting shale basins, but have attracted little or no drilling activity to date. What data do exist are often closely held or hard to access. This lack of data available to new players raises their exploration risk and diverts them toward other locations. To overcome this barrier, a country can lay out regulatory and fiscal regimes geared towards frac’ing. Doing so differentiates that country in a favorable way, promises investors reasonable land access and tax treatment, and ultimately will get drilling going sooner than in other locations.
• Certain frac’ing operating characteristics are especially relevant to the crafting of more customized regulatory and fiscal regimes. Land access is a major issue outside the U.S. Frac’ing involves onshore drilling. Its activities have visual and auditory impacts on local communities. Frac’ing uses large amounts of water, raising concerns about consumption, contamination and waste water disposal. These aspects can easily lead to local opposition to drilling, even though all of these issues have proved manageable in the U.S. Putting in place upfront a regulatory regime customized for frac’ing-type operations is thus essential to reassuring local communities on these issues. This regime should draw upon the many lessons-learned in the
U.S. It also should provide a form of ‘one-stop’ approvals for exploitation licenses. The Alberta Energy Regulator has pioneered this form of comprehensive, yet efficient regulatory regime.
• Local communities also need to see fiscal incentives to compensate for the less desirable impacts of unconventional development. This is a special challenge outside of the U.S., where mineral rights often belong to the central government rather than private landowners or local authorities. The U.K. is presently showing the way on devolving central government taxes via returning business taxes and impact fees to local communities.
• Certain frac’ing characteristics are also relevant to the design of fiscal regimes. Frac’ing wells do not produce especially large volumes per well, and initial surge production declines sharply within a year. This profile requires operators to undertake continuous and intensive drilling in order to sustain an aggregate level of production that can support logistical infrastructure. If a developer cannot see a path to reaching ‘field drilling intensity,’ it will not commit the funds necessary to provide for infrastructure, and the field will not be developed to potential.
• Frac’ing fiscal regimes thus must incentivize continuous and intensive drilling during the field and infrastructure development stage. The overall tax burden should be kept light during this period. Royalties should be avoided or minimized, as these are based on physical production rather than economics. An income tax structure should instead be used. Tax rates can increase once the field + infrastructure is developed, but should still be kept lower than for conventional or offshore production. Unconventional resources are a marginal source of supply. As such they are especially price sensitive. Tax rates thus can be allowed to vary upward if prices exceed expectations, but the structure should be kept ‘dynamic,’ i.e. rates should adjust down if prices fall below agreed thresholds. Otherwise, frac’ing, which is easy to stop, will cease and government take will decline precipitously.

[1] Reguła Chatham House Rule – zasada zezwalająca  na upublicznianie informacji uzyskanych podczas  niejawnych spotkań i debat (zwykle politycznych  lub dyplomatycznych), pod warunkiem nieujawniania tożsamości uczestników zebrania. Nazwa  pochodzi od angielskiej instytucji Chatham House,  w której obowiązuje ona z pewnymi modyfikacja- mi od 1927 roku.

[2] Sikora A., „Jakoś to będzie”, Przegląd Gazowniczy, nr 1 (49), marzec 2016, str. 53-54  –


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