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BNK lines up Spain’s first shale-gas well

Shales in northern Spain look ‘very promising’

BNK Petroleum has bought its first shale gas acreage in Spain and aims to drill the first wells in 2013. The California-based company has acquired 61,500 acres in Cantabria, in the north of the country. As part of the licence deal, BNK will conduct geological studies in the first year and will then drill at least one vertical well in years two, four, five and six.

BNK has been assessing Spain’s shale gas reserve base over the past two years and says the potential looks “very promising”. Chief executive Wolf Regener told Petroleum Economist the company has “more data on Spain than on many other countries”, but he wouldn’t speculate on resource potential.

“Whenever we decide to drill,” he said, “it’s because we’ve found something that looks comparable to the US.”

US shale gas production has skyrocketed over the past decade and could make up 50% of domestic output by 2035, according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA).

BNK also holds 1.1m acres in Poland’s Baltic basin and is exploring for shale gas in the country alongside a host of international operators, including Canada’s Talisman Energy and US supermajor ConocoPhillips. BNK also holds 2.4m acres across multiple basins in Germany, where it aims to drill its first shale-gas wells next year.

Spain’s shale-gas reserves are unknown but there could be almost 6,000 trillion cf of recoverable shale resources in 32 countries – excluding the US, Russia and the Middle East – according to a new report by the EIA. The US government agency says there could be 639 trillion cf in Europe alone and 22.6 trillion cf globally.

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