Ukraine Crisis Spurs Fracking-Friendly Measure in Poland

Poland's Prime Minister Tusk says fracking will be tax-free until 2020

As the crisis in Ukraine continues to put a spotlight on Russia's stranglehold over European gas supplies, Poland has offered a frack-friendly proposal of making shale gas extraction tax-free in the country.

"We adopted measures that should encourage shale gas exploration," Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said Tuesday.

According to the new measures, fracking will be tax-free until 2020, and after that point taxes "shouldn't exceed 40 percent of extraction income," Tusk said.

The first commercial shale well in the country is expected this year, and as many as 30 fracking wells could be drilled this year.

Poland's burgeoning "dash for gas" has also brought environmental and public health concerns, and led a group of protesters to blockade a Chevron fracking site last year.

On Monday, Tusk warned of the consequences of European countries' reliance on Russian gas, saying, "We will not be able to efficiently fend off potential aggressive steps by Russia in the future, if so many European countries are dependent on Russian gas deliveries or wade into such dependence."

Chancellor Angela Merkel is set to make a visit to Poland on Wednesday to discuss the ongoing crisis in Ukraine.

"Increasingly more expensive energy in Europe due to exorbitant climate and environmental ambitions may also mean greater dependence in Russian energy sources...Hence, I will talk (to Merkel) primarily about how Germany is able to correct some economic actions so that dependence on Russian gas doesn't paralyze Europe when it needs...a decisive stance," Reuters reports Tusk as saying.


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