In Poland, major gas fields were discovered in area of the Polish Lowlands. Large gas fields are also known from the Carpathian Foreland and smaller ones – from the Carpathian Mts and Polish economic zone of the Baltic Sea (map). About 75% of the gas resources are related to plays involving Miocene and Rotliegend formations and the remaining resources – to plays in the Cambrian, Devonian, Carboniferous, Zechstein, Jurassic and Cretaceous formations.
In the Polish Lowlands, gas fields are related to the Permian in the Fore-Sudetic and Wielkopolska regions and the Carboniferous and Permian in the Western Pomerania. In these regions gas occurs in massive and block-type reservoirs with water or gas drive mechanism. In that area only four gas fields contain high methane gas. The remaining gas fields are characterized by presence of nitrogen natural gas with content of methane ranging from about 30% up to over 80%, that is nitrogen-methane or methane-nitrogen mixtures.
Gas fields containing natural gas with nitrogen content over 90%, called as „high nitrogenous natural gas” (HNNG), are discussed in a separate section.
In the Carpathian Foreland, natural gas fields are related to plays involving the Jurassic, Cretaceous and Miocene formations. The fields usually contain high methane natural gas with low content of nitrogen. The exceptions are few natural gas fields containing high nitrogen concentrations. In this region gas occurs in structural-lithological multi-layer traps or, sometimes, massive-type reservoirs with gas drive mechanism.
In the Carpathians, natural gas occurs in gas and oil-gas and oil-gas-condensate fields related to plays in the Cretaceous and Paleogene formations. Produced gas is characterized by high content of methane (usually over 85%) whereas average content of nitrogen is a few percent at the average.
In the Polish economic zone of the Baltic Sea, there are two gas fields (B4 and B6) and two oil-gas fields (B3 and B8).
At present the Polish Lowlands region accounts for 68.5% of exploitable domestic resources of natural gas and the Carpathian Foreland – for 26.5% of those resources. The resources of the Polish economic zone of the Baltic Sea and the Carpathians are subordinate, being equal 4.0% and 1.0% of exploitable domestic resources, respectively.
Table 1 shows exploitable resources of natural gas and degree of exploration and development of the gas and oil and condensate fields in individual parts of the country. The data given in this table refer to resources of natural gas of various methane content and are not converted to those of high methane gas (high methane gas = extracted reserves x combustion heat of real gas / combustion heat of high methane gas, that is about 34 MJ/m3).
In 2015, exploitable resources of natural gas were equal 125.04 billion m3 (anticipated economic and anticipated sub-economic resources), that is 4.70 billion m3 less than the year before – mainly due to the production. In 2015 there was one new field documented: Sieraków (93.91 million m3 of exploitable resources).
Resources of exploited fields were estimated at 102.34 billion m3, which accounts for 82% of total amount of the exploitable resources. In 2015, economic resources of natural gas were estimated at 54.91 billion m3.
The total domestic resources given above include those of gas fields which are planned to be converted for use as underground natural gas storage facilities. Production from these gas fields has been stopped in order to use the remaining gas as gas cushion (base gas) throughout the time of operation of the storage sites. There have been 7 gas fields selected for conversion into underground storage facilities so far: Bonikowo (328.63 million m3), Brzeźnica (45.59 million m3), Daszewo (27.72 million m3), Husów (372.88 million m3), Strachocina (121.50 million m3), Swarzów (28.80 million m3) and Wierzchowice (5,728.12 million m3). Total reserves of natural gas to be used as gas cushions are estimated at 6.65 billion m3. In 2012, there was permission given by the Minister of the Environment for Henrykowice E field (crossed out from “The balance…” in 2003) to be used as underground natural gas storage facility.
Underground hydrocarbons storage facilities are also built in salt deposits. There are 3 cavernous facilities – gas storage facilities Mogilno II and Kosakowo and crude oil and liquid fuels storage facility Góra. As of the end of 2015, 11 licenses for running underground natural gas, crude oil and liquid fuel storage facilities were issued.
In 2015, domestic production of natural gas from field with exploitable gas resources was equal 5.214 billion m3 (table 2), being by 0.045 billion m3 lower than in 2014.
The figure below shows changes in domestic exploitable anticipated economic resources and production of natural gas in Poland in the years 1989-2015.
Shale gas accumulations are likely to occur in the Upper Ordovician-Lower Silurian formations in the Baltic and Lublin-Podlasie Basins, as well as in the Lysogory and Bilgoraj-Narol blocks. These formations are currently subject to industry exploration activity. Couple of years ago, Polish Geological Institute-National Research Institute in cooperation with U.S. Geological Survey on the basis of data from the period 1950-1990 estimated resources of gas and oil in the Upper Ordovician-Lower Silurian formations in the Baltic and Lublin-Podlasie Basins. Total exploitable resources of gas can be estimated at maximum 1,920 billion m3 and oil 535 million tonnes. Taking into account all parameters of the evaluation, resources can be estimated with the highest probability within the range of 346-768 billion m3 of gas and 215-268 million tonnes of oil*.
In 2014 PGI-NRI prepared the first preliminary report** assessing the prognostic resources of natural gas in the selected most perspective compact reservoir complexes in Poland. This report was elaborated as one of the state geological survey tasks. There were 3 complexes explored: Permian sandstones of Rotliegend formation in Poznań-Kalisz area, Carboniferous sandstones in Wielkopolska-Śląsk area and Cambrian sandstones in the western part of Baltic basin.
On the basis of archival data and the latest information disclosed by exploratory companies operating in Poland the prognostic resources of natural gas within 3 areas mentioned above were estimated at 1,528-1,995 billion m3. According to the authors of this report technically exploitable resources can be hypothetically assessed assuming the exploitation factor at 5-15% (mean 10%) for each of these regions.
Prepared by: Martyna Czapigo-Czapla, Dariusz Brzeziński
*PIG-PIB, 2012 – Ocena zasobów wydobywalnych gazu ziemnego i ropy naftowej w formacjach łupkowych dolnego paleozoiku w Polsce (basen bałtycko-podlasko-lubelski). PIG-PIB, Warszawa.
**Wójcicki A., Kiersnowski H., Dyrka I., Adamczak-Biały T., Becker A., Głuszyński A., Janas M., Kozłowska A., Krzemiński L., Kuberska M., Pacześna J., Podhalańska T., Roman M., Skowroński L., Waksmundzka M.I., 2014 - Prognostyczne zasoby gazu ziemnego w wybranych zwięzłych skałach zbiornikowych Polski. PIG-PIB, Warszawa.