Shale gas = Freedom.
When Wieslaw Radzieciak took office as the mayor of Lesniowice in the gently-rolling farmland of southeastern Poland 26 years ago, the Soviet garrisons that dotted the county were a stark reminder of which superpower was in control.
The signs of Russian occupation have vanished but over the past year a new superpower has moved in, its presence spelled out on the distinctive logos plastered on the trucks used by U.S.-based oil services company Halliburton.
It’s all part of Poland’s ambitious goal to exploit Europe’s biggest estimated deposits of shale gas. Beginning in 2014, Warsaw wants to tap an estimated 5.3 trillion cubic meters of recoverable reserves of gas – enough, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, to supply Poland with more than 300 years of its domestic energy needs.
But the shale gas push is about more than energy. Poland wants to break its reliance on Russian energy and reduce Moscow’s power over Europe…