Mineral resources of Poland> Energy raw materials> Crude oil
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Crude oil

ropa naftowa

General information and occurrence

In Poland, in 2022, there were 88 crude oil fields documented, including 29 fields located in the Carpathian Mts., 12 on the Carpathian Foreland (in the Carpathian Foredeep), 45 within the Polish Lowlands and 2 in the Polish economic zone of the Baltic Sea (off shore). The oil fields occurring in the Carpathian Mts. and Carpathian Foreland have had a long history as this is the area of the world's oldest crude oil mining. Nowadays, these fields are almost depleted. Currently, the Polish oil fields of the largest economic importance are situated in the Polish Lowlands. In 2022, the exploitable resources of the fields located in this region accounted for 66.7% and the resources of the fields within the Polish economic zone of the Baltic Sea for 26.5% of the domestic crude oil resources in Poland. Resources of the Carpathian Foreland and the Carpathian Mts. are of a subordinate role (accounting for 3.7% and 3.1% of domestic resources, respectively).

On the Polish Lowlands, the documented oil fields occur mainly in the Permian sediments and the single ones in the Carboniferous, Cambrian and Devonian sediments. The oils are of the medium paraffin type, with the paraffin content ranging from 4.3 to 7.4%, the sulfur content slightly above 1% and the density within the range of 0.857 - 0.870 g/cm3. The majority of these fields are of the massive type, with a passive role of underlying water and with a gas cap expansion drive. The largest in Poland is yhe BMB field (the short for a town name Barnówko-Mostno-Buszewo) located near the city of Gorzów Wielkopolski. Its resources of crude oil were found to be twice larger than the total domestic resources before its discovery. Other oil fields with significant resources occurring on the Polish Lowland include: Lubiatów, Grotów and Cychry.

In the Carpathian Mts., crude oil fields occur in several tectonic units, but mostly in the Silesian unit. The oil fields are mainly of the structural type, more rarely of the structural-lithological type, mainly of the laminar type with surrounding water. The production is initially driven by the expansion of natural gas dissolved in oil and subsequently by a gravity driven drainage.

Carpathian crude oil fields are mainly of the oil-gas type. The crude oil density ranges from 0.750 to 0.943 g/cm3 and the crude oil is allocated under sulfur-free type. The paraffin content varies from 3.5 to 7%. The resources of Carpathian oil fields are generally minor, depending on a size and a character of the structures which they are occurring in. The resources of the Carpathian fields have been significantly exhausted in the result of many years of exploitation.

In the Carpathian Foredeep oil fields are related mainly to the Mesozoic sedimentary rocks of the platform type (the Jurassic carbonate rocks, the Cretaceous sandstones) and in the autochthonic Miocene sediments. Most of these fields are of a layer type with stratigraphic, lithological or tectonic shielding. The crude oil of this region belong to the group of light and medium oils (with density ranging from 0.811 to 0.846 g/cm3). The paraffin content varies from 2.32 to 9.37% and the sulfur content from 0.45 to 0.85% on average.

Some of the fields located in the mentioned above regions contain dissolved gas components forming an oil condensate.

On the Polish Lowlands the oil condensate occur mainly in the Cychry and Krobielewko fields and (in less significant amounts) in the Jastrzębsko, Antonin 1 and Żarnowiec W fields. On the Carpathian Foreland the oil condensate occurs in the Łąkta field and in the Carpathian Mts. is co-occurring in little amounts in the Słopnice field.

There are crude oil fields occurrying in Poland presented on the map.

Resources and output

The Table 1 shows resources of oil and condensate and the current state of their exploration and development.

In 2022, the exploitable resources of crude oil and condensate totaled 21,396.02 thousand tonnes (the anticipated economic and sub-economic resources in total), decreasing by 795.48 thousand tonnes in relation to the previous year. The resources drops were caused mainly by the output. In 2022, in the north-western part of the Fore-Sudetic Monocline, there was new field documented – Chałupczyn, with exploitable resources equal 61.52 thousand tonnes of crude oil with accompanying natural gas.

The exploitable resources within the exploited crude oil and condensate fields amount to 19.76 million tonnes which account for 92.3% of the total domestic exploitable resources.

The economic resources of crude oil and condensate in 2022 were equal 10.47 million tonnes.

The domestic output of crude oil and condensate in 2022, from onshore and offshore fields, amounted to 816.54 thousand tonnes and decreased by 41.49 thousand tonnes in relation to the previous year. Table 2 shows the crude oil and condensate production in individual regions of the country.

The figure below shows changes in exploitable anticipated economic resources and production of oil in Poland in the years 1989-2022.

The current state of the exploration and the development together with the output amount are presented in Table 3. The fields which have been abandoned due to the exploitable resources depletion have anticipated economic or anticipated sub-economic resources documented.

The prospective resources of the crude oil in Poland, according to The balance of prospective mineral resources of Poland, are related to the oil-gas-bearing formations: on the Polish Lowland (the Cambrian – about 1.1 million tonnes, the Devonian-Carboniferous – about 27.66 million tonnes, the Main Dolomite – about 235 million tonnes, the Mesozoic – the probable resources about 4.99 million tonnes and hypothetic resources about 23.81 million tonnes); on the Carpathian Foreland and in the Carpathian Mts. (the Miocene and its basis within the Carpathian Foredeep – about 0.6 million tonnes; the Carpathian flysch with its basis – about 124.2 million tonnes)*. The most prospective areas are the western and the eastern parts of the Carpathian Mts. with the Carpathian Foreland, the Carboniferous sediments of the north-eastern edge of the Western European platform, the western parts of the Main Dolomite platforms and the eastern part of the Fore-Sudetic Monocline. Considering the unconventional crude oil resources (the trapped crude oil), the most important areas are the compact sandstones of the Cambrian age within the Baltic basin**. The estimated crude oil resources, technically available for the exploitation, in the schists of the Lower Paleozoic age within the Baltic-Podlasie-Lublin basin in the land area, are assessed to be equal about 15.8-45.4 million tonnes, whereas in the maritime area to be equal about 73.4-99.2 million tonnes.

Prepared by: Dariusz Brzeziński, Martyna Czapigo-Czapla

* Feldman-Olszewska A., Kiersnowski H., Peryt T., Pacześna J., Laskowicz R., Janas M., Głuszyński A., Waśkiewicz K., 2020 - "Ropa naftowa (crude oil), gaz ziemny (natural gas), kondensat ropno-gazowy (condensate)". In: "Bilans perspektywicznych zasobów kopalin Polski wg stanu na 31.12.2018 r." (eds. Szamałek K., Szuflicki M., Mizerski W.): 49-69. PIG-PIB, Warszawa [in Polish].

** Wójcicki A., Kiersnowski H., Podhalańska T., Janas M., Głuszyński A., Pacześna J., Adamczak-Biały T., 2020 - "Gaz i ropa z łupków (shale gas, shale oil), gaz zamknięty (tight gas)". In: "Bilans perspektywicznych zasobów kopalin Polski wg stanu na 31.12.2018 r." (eds. Szamałek K., Szuflicki M., Mizerski W.): 70-83. PIG-PIB, Warszawa [in Polish].