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Zurawlow shalegas field and Chevron withdrawal, Poland

On 3 June 2013 a small village in Poland began an occupation of a field for around 400 days, to avoid that Chevron fenced the area to fracking. The villagers won this fight and Chevron withdrew


Chevron opened several exploratory wells in Poland, Romania, signing accords with Ucraina and Lituania as well.  [2]  The company on 30 January 2015, announced it was abandoning exploratory project of shale gas in Poland, because its earnings for the fourth quarter of 2014 fell nearly 30 percent compared with a year earlier, to $3.5 billion. The company blamed lower oil prices for much of the damage.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Zurawlow shalegas field and Chevron withdrawal, Poland
State or province:District of Gmina Grabowiec, within Zamość County, Lublin Voivodeship, in eastern Poland.
Location of conflict:Zurawlow
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Shale gas fracking
Specific commodities:Crude oil
Natural Gas
Project Details and Actors
Project details

In 2011, the US energy information administration announced that there could be as much as 5.3 trillion cubic meters - or 300 years worth- of gas that could be fracked in the area around Zurawlow, although subsequent studies have shown that the reserves are much lower than that and could only last for 26-70 years.[7]

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Level of Investment for the conflictive projectUnknown
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:Unknown
Start of the conflict:01/11/2011
End of the conflict:30/01/2015
Company names or state enterprises:„PRAKTIBUD” – Adam Gwizdała from Poland - subcontractor (construction works)
POSZUKIWANIA NAFTY I GAZU NAFTA S A from Poland - subcontractor (drilling activities)
Chevron Polska Energy Resources Sp. z o.o. from United States of America - main investor
Relevant government actors:The Minister of Environment of Poland; The Polish prime minister
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:- Occupy Chevron (Poland): : [email protected];
- Stowarzyszenie Ekologiczne EKO-UNIA (Ecological Association EKO-UNIA):
- Partia Zieloni (The Greens):
- Centrum Zrównoważonego Rozwoju (Center for Sustainable Development):
- Stowarzyszenie "Zielony Żurawlów" (Green Zurawlow Association):
- committees and associations fighting against shale gas, shale oil and coal gas (France):
[list here
- Farmer Protest: : [email protected];
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Social movements
Forms of mobilization:Blockades
Community-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Land occupation
Official complaint letters and petitions
Street protest/marches
Villagers blockaded a proposed Chevron shale drilling site with tractors and agricultural machinery, for 400 days[4]. 
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Global warming, Soil contamination, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Air pollution
Health ImpactsPotential: Accidents, Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Malnutrition, Occupational disease and accidents
Other Health impacts [7]Greens EFA
Socio-economical ImpactsPotential: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Militarization and increased police presence, Social problems (alcoholism, prostitution, etc..), Land dispossession
Project StatusStopped
Conflict outcome / response:Criminalization of activists
Strengthening of participation
Violent targeting of activists
Project cancelled
Withdrawal of company/investment
Proposal and development of alternatives:In the Occupy Chevron (Poland) web site [5], in the section “Postulaty”,  they assumed clearly:
1. Stoping activity of Chevron corporation and their subcontractors in the area of Grabowiec till legality of intentional actions will be confirmed. Its actions will lead to irreversible destruction of natural enviroment in the area, and eventual penalties will not remove the damage.
2. Taking into account opinion of local communities by the authorities and all entities leading the mining activity on our land - especially Chevron corporation.
3. Removing all accusations towards protesters and also stoping the process of intimidation the local authorities. Chevrons’ lawyers threats authorities and inhabitants of Zurawlow with penalties as a consequence of taking part in the protest. At the same time Chevron tries to agitate protestants with inhabitants of neighbouring villages by, for example, hiring them as bodyguards, who constantly film protestants. Is it how Chevron “supports local communities”, as stated on its website.
4.Making all Chevron’s actions transparent. We demand  access to all documents concerning actions conducted by Chevron that are having influence on natural enviroment in our area. Transparency is the basis of dialogue, necesarry to build “relationship with communities”.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Yes
Briefly explain:The determination of the Zurawlow's farmers to expel the fracking Chevron activities, was so strong, occupying for many days fields and roads, that they made Chevron withdraw.
Sources & Materials
References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

[9] Anna Szołuch, Gaz łupkowy w Polsce. Historia, magia, protest (Shale gas in Poland. History, magic, protest). Warszawa: Wydawnictwo Naukowe PWN SA (2021)
[click to view]

 [8], Drill Baby drill/La malédiction du gaz de schiste/ Gas-Fieber, Lech Kowalski (2013)
[click to view]

[7]Raluca Besliu,Polish village of Zurawlow is model in anti-fracking fight, Cafebabel, August 20, 2013
[click to view]

[10] Helena Leman, Bronimy ziemi, nie łamiemy prawa (We defend the land, we do not break the law), Tygodnik Przegląd, March 10, 2014
[click to view]

[11] Helena Leman, Przynajmniej nie staliśmy bezczynnie (At least we didn't stand idle), Tygodnik Przegląd, August 11, 2014
[click to view]

[12] Damian Żuchowski, Początek lata w Żurawlowie (The beginning of summer in Zurawlow),, June 22, 2013
[click to view]

Anca Dumitrescu, Chevron renunţă la explorarea zăcămintelor de gaze de şist din Polonia,Mediafax, February 1, 2015
[click to view]

 [1]  Stanley Reed, Chevron to Abandon Shale Natural Gas Venture in Poland, New York Times, January 30, 2015
[click to view]

 [2], Chevron lascia la Polonia: il fracking costa troppo, February 6, 2015
[click to view]

 Arthur Neslen, Polish shale industry collapsing as number of licenses nearly halves, The Guardian, October 9, 2015
[click to view]

 [3]  Arthur Neslen, Poland's shale gas revolution evaporates in face of environmental protests, The Guardian, January 12, 2015
[click to view], Marius Şuiu: De ce s-a retras Chevron din Polonia și România ,February 22, 2015
[click to view]

Nofrackingvallespasiegos, Chevron abandona la aventura del Shale Gas en Polonia, Enero 31, 2015
[click to view]

Economie.hotnews, Chevron renunta la explorarea zacamintelor de gaze de sist din Polonia, February 1, 2015
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Lech Kowalski, Vincent Brown and Christine O'Brien-Bucciero, 100 DAYS OF OCCUPY CHEVRON, September 10, 2013
[click to view]

 [5] Occupy Chevron (Poland)
[click to view]

Occupy Chevron, press related to Occupy Chevron in Poland, Curated by camera war
[click to view]

Quynhanh Do, Oil Prices’ ‘Spectrum of Pain’, As the price of crude oil fluctuates, why some countries are faring much better than others, The New York Times, January 27, 2015, Photo by Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters, in  [1] Stanley Reed, Chevron to Abandon Shale Natural Gas Venture in Poland, New York Times, January 30, 2015
[click to view]

AntyŁupek, Protest mieszkańców Żurawlowa i okolicznych miejscowości przeciwko firmie Chevron, która ma zamiar wykonać odwiert a następnie wydobywać gaz łupkowy metodą szczelinowania hydraulicznego niespełna 300m od najbliższych budynków mieszkalnych, Mar 9, 2014
[click to view]

[click to view]

 [6]Greens EFA, Zabronić hydroszczelinowanie i eksploatacji gazu łupkowego w Europie zanim będzie za późno!, in Occupy Chevron (Poland), September 3, 2012
[click to view]

Other documents

Jarosław Badera and Paweł Kocoń, Moral panic related to mineral development projects – Examples from Poland, April 2, 2015
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Myriam Bartolucci, EJAtlas internship researcher, [email protected]
Last update10/08/2022
Conflict ID:2314
Legal notice / Aviso legal
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