Shale gas explorer San Leon Energy extends licenses in northern Poland

A company official says that oil and gas firm San Leon Energy is extending its licenses to explore for shale gas in northern Poland.

Managing Director Pawel Chalupka told The Associated Press on Tuesday that results from its three vertical wells near the Baltic Sea coast encouraged the company to seek an extension to its licenses in the area. It expects to complete its license renewals next year.

The decision is good news for the shale gas sector in Poland, where, after an initial rush, major exploring companies pulled out citing difficult geological conditions and restrictive regulations.

Still, Poland remains Europe's leader in shale gas exploration. A new law simplifying license procedures will take effect Jan.1, while a bill easing exploration taxes should be implemented in mid-2015, officials said.