WILLIAM J. GIBBS JR./Reprints at wilsoncountynews.com
Remigiusz “Remi” Urbanowski (left) of the Polish Embassy in Washington, D.C., converses with former Karnes County Judge Alfred Pawelek April 24 during a tour of Karnes County.
Wilson County News May 2, 2012 5,249 views 2 comments
KARNES CITY -- Ongoing oil and natural gas exploration of the Eagle Ford shale has garnered national attention. The activity also has the attention of officials in Poland, who partnered with Marathon Oil to send a delegation to get a firsthand look April 24 at Karnes County’s petrochemical boom.
Ludomir Lasocki of Poland’s Ministry of Finance and Remigiusz “Remi” Urbanowski of the Polish Embassy in Washington, D.C., spent the day witnessing various aspects of Karnes County’s petroleum exploration and production. They also visited America’s oldest permanent Polish settlement, Panna Maria -- which was settled in 1854 -- before a dinner reception at Polak’s Sawsage Farm just north of Karnes City.
Marathon is one of a handful of American companies with energy explorations in Poland. According to Marathon’s website, the Houston-based global petrochemical giant is the operator of 11 concessions in Poland totaling 1.2 million net acres, with shale gas potential. The company hopes to apply the expertise gained in major U.S. shale plays to increase Poland’s energy security.
“Poland has a rich amount of shale gas in our country, the biggest supply in Europe,” Urbanowski said. “We’re trying to assess the benefits and risks of the industry. This kind of industry has its obvious benefits, such as the economic benefit, along with its environmental drawbacks.”
Lasocki said that unlike the Eagle Ford shale, in which the exploration has been aimed at both crude oil and natural gas, Poland’s shale exploration will focus mainly on natural gas deposits. He said that Poland has known about its shale deposits for a long time, but recent technological advances in the United States have given Poland hope of being able to extract natural gas from its own reserves.
Lasocki said part of his duty to the Polish government is to help develop a tax structure for hydrocarbons, such as coal, natural gas, and other fossil fuels and minerals. He said he asked the Polish Embassy to set up meetings with American companies that are prospecting in Poland, in an effort to obtain a better understanding of operations in the field.
Like the United States, Lasocki said people in Poland are uncertain about their environmental future. However, one difference he noted was that the United States is one of few nations in which landowners can have mineral rights.
“People in Poland do not own mineral rights,” Lasocki said. “They are owned by the state. That’s normal in most of the world, in Europe definitely.”
Former Karnes County Judge Alfred Pawelek was among those who welcomed the delegation to Polak’s. He spoke of the county’s rich Polish heritage and its sister-county relationship with the Polish county of Lesnica. During a 2003 tour of Poland with a Karnes County delegation, Pawelek said he observed residents heating their homes with bottles of butane and that natural gas was not being used as a fuel source. He sees a bright energy future for the nation, which also could benefit other countries.
“It would be nice to import oil from Poland -- a friendly nation -- than from the Arabs, many of whom are unfriendly,” Pawelek said.
Prior to beginning exploration work in Poland, Marathon hosted Polish government officials on a tour of its Bakken shale operations in North Dakota, according to the company’s website.
“We want to show the Polish government how we care about the communities we operate in,” said Hugo Gutierrez, manager of government affairs for Marathon.
Your Opinions and Comments
4 th Generation Texan Sutherland Springs May 3, 2012 9:59am
And, how many times has Obama been down to Karnes County to take a look at an important and vital new oil field? Embarrasing that the folk from Poland have taken the time to look and Obama hasn't...guess that tells a story ... More ›
And, how many times has Obama been down to Karnes County to take a look at an important and vital new oil field? Embarrasing that the folk from Poland have taken the time to look and Obama hasn't...guess that tells a story about Obama that many on the left would rather not hear!