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GAS PLAYS: About two dozen international companies across Poland are exploring thousands of meters (yards) underground for hidden deposits of natural gas hailed as a vast new source of fuel.

SUCCESS AND CONTROVERSY: Inspired by the huge success of shale gas in the U.S., Poland is a pioneer in Europe, pressing ahead as other EU countries _ like France, Germany and Bulgaria _ impose moratoriums over worries the drilling technique will poison water and pollute air.

HIGH HOPES: Poland wants to break its 70 percent dependence on unreliable imports from Russian supplier Gazprom, create new jobs and cut energy prices.