Geopolitics forces changes in Polish ocean geological reconnaissance programme

Due to geopolitical changes, the government plans to cut spending on the PRoGeO Ocean Geological Recognition Programme by more than PLN 190 million, according to the government’s legislative work list. It added that the programme is to be limited to exploration of the Polish concession in the Atlantic.

On Friday, the government’s legislative work list announced work to amend the PRoGeO Ocean Geological Recognition Programme for 2017 – 2033.

As highlighted, the Programme has not been updated since 2017 and the current international situation necessitates its revision.

– The current provisions of the Programme are outdated, the stated objectives and targets are too far-reaching in the context of the international situation and some of them are impossible to implement under the current circumstances. A significant reason for the outdated provisions of the Programme are geopolitical and economic changes, including a significant increase in oil prices on world markets, currency fluctuations and a sharp increase in interest rates, which have a direct impact on the real costs of implementing the Programme, it was explained.

The list conveyed that the Ministry of Climate and Environment has identified a number of necessary amendments that were not foreseeable when the Programme was enacted in 2017.

– The proposed solutions will update the Programme’s provisions in almost every point of the Programme. What remains unchanged, however, is the Programme’s funding mechanism and the way it will be implemented with the help of mainly the State Geological Survey, it was reported.

The list shows that the Programme will be simplified.

– The tasks of the Programme have been limited to key studies of the ocean floor as part of the implementation of the Agreement between the Minister of the Environment of the Republic of Poland and the International Seabed Authority on the Exploration of Polymetallic Sulphides, signed in London on 12 February 2018. – explained.

At that time, Poland signed a contract with the International Seabed Authority for the exploration of polymetallic sulphides (copper, silver, precious metals and rare earth elements) in the mid-Atlantic rift area.

The list adds that the new division of tasks of the Programme is expected to allow for more efficient implementation.

– As a result, the Programme will become easier to implement and supervise, more flexible, less susceptible to external factors, and better able to adapt to changing economic conditions (price and exchange rate fluctuations), it indicated.

The list further informed that the changes to the programme will reduce the total expenditure for 2017-2033 by more than PLN 190 million. The PRoGeO Ocean Geological Exploration Programme, which aims to increase the country’s raw material security, currently envisages that over PLN 530 million will be spent on geological exploration on the ocean floor between 2017 and 2033.

In October last year, the climate and environment ministry reported that the exploration report on the Polish Atlantic concession would be published in the first quarter of 2023.

The Polish exploration and prospecting concession in the mid-Atlantic is not large – it covers 10,000 sq km. The deposits are located at a depth of about 1,400 to about 2,800 metres. The concession will be available for 15 years with the possibility of renewal every five years.

Poland, through its participation in the Joint Introceanmetal Organisation, also takes part in the subsea exploration of the Pacific allotment. It lies in the Clarion Clipperton zone, 3,000 km west of Mexico. The plot is approximately 75,000 sq km and we have co-owned it since 1987; there are polymetallic concretions with key elements such as manganese, vanadium, molybdenum, nickel, copper.



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