After two years of seemingly never-ending discussions over the new regulations, the Polish government has, at long last, accepted the draft amendments to the Geology and Mining Law. At this present time the Governmental Legislation Centre is working on the document and in a few days should submit it to Parliament.

Firstly, the draft law makes the procedure for obtaining a concession much simpler – a single omnibus concession for exploration, appraisal and the production of hydrocarbons from deposits will replace what were previously three separate concessions. These concessions will be awarded for between 10 to 30 years.

Secondly, all geophysical surveys will be conducted solely on the basis of a notification process (a concession will no longer be necessary).

The same relates to construction facilities used directly for the exploration and appraisal of hydrocarbon deposits – these will now be subject to a notification process, such that a construction permit will no longer be required.

A major barrier to exploration and appraisal is removed as the time and cost-intensive environmental proceedings are now not required until the final stage of the exploration and appraisal phase, preceding the commencement of exploitation.

Last, but not least, the Minister of the Environment ruled against establishing the entity called the National Operator of Energy Fossil Fuels, which was supposed to be an obligatory participant in all joint operating agreements.

Hopefully, after the much reported exodus from Poland of several concessionaires, all of these incentives will constitute a catalyst for a renewed stage of development of the shale gas business in Poland.