How refreshing to go to a country that isn't scared of shale. Reuter's report on the US/Poland shale gas conference of Wednesday reflected the overall positive nature of the event.

Using our own gas supplies does not only add to our energy security but also increases the competitiveness of the whole Polish economy," Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski told a conference on Poland's shale gas outlook.

Sikorski said shale gas would feature in talks with U.S. President Barack Obama when he visits Warsaw on May 27-28. Big U.S. energy firms are at the forefront of efforts to tap shale gas deposits in Poland and some other European countries.

"We know some countries have followed initiatives aimed at banning shale gas but we should not be afraid. New technologies bring new risks but the technology is advancing," he added.

To me, the Foreign Minister and US Ambassador and Richard Morningstar of the US State Department all getting together and saying very postive things about shale is a story n itself.  With the inclusion of the Obama angle this sounds like good, diferent and positive news. But while the report was balanced, the Reuters editor couldn't resist casting doubt and negativity where it counts, in the headline:

Poland to develop shale gas despite environment risk

Anyone at the conference would have to say, what environmental risk is that?  The news from the US EPA and Bureau of Land Management was just as postive as that put out by people like Chevron, Marathon and Talisman. The EU was also there pointing out that European regulation is much tougher in both chemicals and water, but they didn't highlight any environmental risk. So why the doubting and pessmiistic headline? This from the Warsaw Voice better reflects the tone of the conference:

Shale gas offers a great chance for Poland and for competitive gas prices in the Central-Eastern European region as well as for its energy security, participants said at a Polish-US conference of experts on shale gas outlook in Warsaw yesterday.

The conference was co-hosted by the US embassy and the Polish foreign ministry and attended by U.S. Ambassador Lee A. Feinstein and Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski.

“Exploration of our own resources is our chance and our obligation,” Sikorski said. Shale gas is “a chance to limit Poland’s and Europe’s dependence on imports.”

Ambassador Feinstein said developing shale gas industry will translate to energy security for Poland, as it does for the U.S.

The use of shale gas, pioneered by the U.S. and Canada, is controversial for its impact on the environment and will be one of the main points on the agenda when President Barack Obama visits Warsaw on May 27-28.

Only France has shale gas reserves on a similar scale to Poland in Europe. But last week France's lower house of parliament approved a bill that would ban shale gas drilling on its territory.

In spite of environmental concerns Poland says it cannot afford to ignore such a valuable reserve of energ

Shale as our chance and our obligation. This is the message the rest of Europe needs to hear. Maybe it will even get through to France, because this  AFP piece in French really pushes the Obama angle that the English languae press ignored:

VARSOVIE - La coopération dans le secteur de l'énergie et en particulier l'exploitation du gaz de schiste, figureront en bonne place dans les entretiens de Barack Obama en Pologne la semaine prochaine, a déclaré un diplomate américain mercredi à Varsovie.

L'énergie est un pilier des relations polono-américaines et ce sera certainement le sujet de discussions pendant la visite à Varsovie du président Obama, a déclaré l'ambassadeur Lee Feinstein, à l'occasion d'une conférence sur le gaz de schiste coorganisée par le ministère des Affaires étrangères et l'ambassade américaine.

Energy as pillar of Polish American relations. That should be news, not unproven allegations of environmental  "risks" that are very well mitigated anyway.

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