WARSAW, Poland (AP) -- Poland's oil and gas group PGNiG says it has signed a memorandum of cooperation with Chevron to explore for shale gas in the southeast of the country.

Rafal Pazura, a spokesman for PGNiG, said Monday that a deal should be signed next year and that his company has geological knowledge of the area near the city of Lublin, where the companies have exploration licenses.

Chevron has shale gas experience from its wells in the U.S. and elsewhere in the world.

Poland hopes shale gas will help cut its dependence on costly Russian gas imports. However, exploration companies say it is moving too slowly to change its mining, tax and environment regulations.

Poland and Britain are the only countries in Europe actively exploring for shale gas.

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