In line with the ORLEN Group Strategy, we plan to intensify our exploration and production efforts to secure access to our own deposits of crude oil and natural gas, particularly from unconventional sources. All these efforts are consistently geared towards building a diversified portfolio of exploration and production projects.
The ORLEN Group, through its ORLEN Upstream subsidiary, remains one of the leaders in unconventional gas exploration in Poland. Following the acquisition of two licences from ExxonMobil Exploration and Production Poland last year, we conduct exploration on the area of approximately 9 thousand square kilometres covered by ten exploration licences, which represents some 10% of the entire area covered by unconventional gas exploration licenses in Poland. Work is conducted on the following projects: Lublin Shale (7 licences), Hrubieszów Shale (1 licence), and Mid-Poland Unconventionals (2 licences).
In November 2013, following the acquisition of a 100% interest in TriOil Resources Ltd. ("TriOil"), the ORLEN Group became an oil and gas producer and a global player in the oil and gas sector. The transaction value was PLN 0.5bn (CAD 183.7m), excluding TriOil's net debt. TriOil’s business includes crude oil and natural gas exploration, appraisal and production in Canada, and its production potential could be increased to 20 thousand barrels of crude oil per day over the next 4-5 years.
Drilling work on the ORLEN Upstream projects is conducted under strict technical supervision to ensure that all operations are performed properly, in compliance with all legally required procedures and in accordance with best operating practice. Moreover, before any drilling project is begun, the surrounding environment and infrastructure is examined and then – upon project completion – we have the same parameters re-measured. To date, these measurements have not shown our operations to have any impact on the natural environment.
We also attach great importance to relations with our stakeholders. Drilling work is each time preceded by numerous meetings with local residents as well as local authorities. Such meetings are accompanied by seminars devoted to the exploration for crude oil and natural gas. ORLEN Upstream engages in the lives of local communities by initiating educational projects, supporting local sports clubs and promoting pro-environmental action.
Unconventional hydrocarbon projects
By December 31st 2013, eight wells had been drilled in search for shale gas, including six vertical and two horizontal ones, and two full-scale fracturing treatments had been performed. In November 2013, the company commenced drilling work on another, seventh, vertical well, which was completed in early 2014. Then in March 2014, the drilling of the third horizontal well was completed.
In 2013, as part of the Lublin Shale project, ORLEN Upstream conducted drilling and research work, and drilled four wells: Stręczyn-OU1 and Dobryniów-OU1 in the Wierzbica licence area, Uścimów-OU1 in the Lubartów licence area, and Stoczek-OU1 in the Wodynie-Łuków licence area.
In 2013, two multi-section hydraulic fracturing treatments, combined with production tests, were performed in the Syczyn-OU2K in Wierzbica licence area and the Berejów-OU2K in the Lubartów licence area.
As part of the Hrubieszów Shale and Mid-Poland Unconventionals projects, in 2013 the company focused on preparation and acquisition of seismic data and processing of newly acquired 2D seismic data.
The ORLEN Group consistently developed our expert resources, prepared for the end-to-end execution of projects, from planning and specification of technical requirements, to economic analysis, down to operating activities.
Conventional hydrocarbon projects
As part of the project carried out jointly with PGNiG S.A. in the Sieraków area in the Polish Lowlands, in 2013 an appraisal well was drilled and the acquired data was analysed to verify the area's prospects and update the work programme.
ORLEN Upstream selected a site and made preparations to spud an exploration well in the Karbon project, which was designed to confirm the presence of hydrocarbon accumulations and estimate potential hydrocarbon reserves in the Lublin Basin. In the past year, 2D seismic data has been acquired within the Bełżyce licence area, and the data is currently being interpreted. Preparations were also made for 2D seismic data acquisition within the Lublin licence area.
In 2013, the ORLEN Group also performed exploration work in the Latvian zone of the Baltic Sea shelf, jointly with Kuwait Energy Company (KEC) – Kambr Project. Under the project, an exploration well was drilled using a semi-submersible drilling platform, comprehensive geophysical surveys were taken, and a detailed analysis of collected data was performed. As analyses of well data failed to yield the expected results, a decision was made to discontinue operations in the region.
Acquisition and M&A projects
We continually analyse possible acquisitions of fields located abroad or acquisitions of interests and cooperation with experienced partners. From 2009 to the end of 2013, we closely looked at 127 potential acquisition projects in various geographies. Our analyses resulted in the acquisition of TriOil in November 2013.
Operations in Canada
The acquisition of production company TriOil on the stable Canadian market is well aligned with the risk profile set out in our strategy. The confirmed profitability of production and the extensive experience of TriOil help reduce operational risks involved the project. TriOil employs horizontal drilling and multi-stage fracturing technologies, which will allow it to share its experiences and transfer the best Canadian practices to the Polish exploration and production segment. The Canadian market also offers good access to drilling and well services, and qualified personnel experienced in unconventional hydrocarbon deposits is available. Canada has a stable and flexible tax system and friendly regulatory environment.
The ORLEN Group, through its Canadian subsidiary, conducts production operations using horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing technologies. In 2013, 21 such operations were performed, with the average production rate achieved in Q4 2013 of 3.8 thousand barrels of oil equivalent per day ("boe/d”), 60% of which were liquid hydrocarbons (crude oil and condensate), and the remaining 40% - gas fractions.