In Energy Strategy-2030 of Russia, enacted at the end of 2009, it was stated that Moscow would put emphasis on the Asia-Pacific region in its energy exports in the coming years. Petrol and petroleum exports going to this region were targeted to be raised from 6% to 22-25% of total exports, and currently non-existing natural gas export to this region to 19-20% scale of total natural gas export. This Asia-Pacific opening is part of Moscow’s strategy to increase national revenues while promoting economic development in East Siberia and the Russia Far East, and, as well as to stem these regions’ chronic emigration problem. Also, increasing negotiating margin in its economic cooperation with EU by operating new oil and gas pipelines to the East also constitutes an important column of this strategy.
Rosneft, Russia’s newest energy giant, is a key pillar of this initiative. As one of Putin’s favoured firms, Rosneft owes a great deal of its success to Kremlin’s state-centred energy strategy — itself a part of a larger strategy to re-establish Russia as a global power. In that context, efforts to develop the company seem to have gained pace over the past years, and Russia’s currently rank, first with its 12.7 share in world oil production as of 2012, would likely to stay same, at least in short term. Continue reading
Last year, Russian state-controlled oil conglomerate Rosneft became the largest oil company in the world after acquiring one of its major competitors. The company has had its sights on tapping Russia’s vast, treacherous Arctic reserves, and after making a few huge deals, it looks like it now has the resources needed to do so.
Russia’s Arctic is estimated to have 25 to 30 billion tons of recoverable oil reserves, which is stunning when you consider there are around 359 billion proven reserves worldwide, including shale oil and oil sands. The only problem is that the Arctic reserves are incredibly hard to exploit, as we saw with Shell’s platform disaster earlier this year. Fields in the Kara and Barents Seas are stuck in incredibly cold and rough seas, and the huge reserves in Siberia’s Laptev, East Siberian, and Chuckchi Seas are additionally separated from population centers by thousands of miles of tundra.
Those vast oil and gas fields aren’t impossible to tap, just expensive. With oil platforms in the farthest reaches estimated to cost somewhere between $5 billion and $8 billion apiece, it should come as no surprise that the Arctic has remained quiet this long. (It’s also a reason why Soviet scientists wanted to melt the whole thing.) Continue reading