When is Russia going to run out of oil and natural gas?

Russia's Minister for Natural Resources and Environment, Sergey Donskoi, said that Russia's reserves of natural gas and oil will be enough for many decades. According to him, gas reserves in Russia will last for 80 years, while oil reserves - for 29 years, if the country works with ready-to-develop deposits and reserves. "We are still one of the leaders in terms of traditional reserves of natural gas, and we continue opening new ones. The State Reserves Commission has recently received materials on the Tambeyskoye field in Yamal, from which one can extract up to four trillion cubic meters, so we expect a good increase in traditional reserves," the official said.

The minister noted that if one takes into account unconventional and hard-to-extract oil reserves in Russia, they may last not for 29 years, but for several centuries. Sergey Donskoi also said that the introduction of new technologies that will allow to extract raw materials with least spending possible is the main task of the Ministry of Natural Resources.

Pravda.Ru discussed the subject of reserves of Russian natural resources in an interview with Rustam Tankayev, member of the Energy Strategy Committee of the Chamber of Industry and Commerce of Russia, general director of InfoTEK-Terminal, leading expert of the Union of Oil and Gas Producers of Russia.

"How reasonable are the forecasts about Russian oil and gas reserves? Are there any new developments in the works?"

"There is a very big difference between everyday concepts and professional terms. Sergei Donskoy used professional terms, which people understand differently on the level of their everyday life. There is a professional term of security of extraction of reserves. Ensuring the production of reserves is the result of reserves taken on the balance of the state divided by past year's extraction.

Every year, we discover new deposits. We discover more oil reserves than we extract. Every year hydrocarbon reserves grow, and so does the availability of these reserves. If we do try to understand for how long oil and gas in Russia last, we will need to assess potential resources and the reserves that we already have and divide them by promising production that we may expect in the coming years. If we do this, we will see that our hydrocarbon reserves will last for nearly an indefinite period of time, because Russia has huge opportunities to increase production.

"Russia holds from 70 to 90 percent of resources of planet Earth. In a nutshell, an affirmation saying that Russia will run out of oil and gas makes no sense. Minister for Oil of Saudi Arabia noted once that the stone age ended not because the world ran out of stones, and the oil age is not going to end when the world runs out of oil. As for natural gas reserves, we could produce about a trillion cubic meters of fuel a year, and we extract 650 billion cubic meters. That is, we have been using 65 percent of our capacity for a long time already. Russia does not have enough sales markets. If Russia throws all of its natural gas on the market, it will not cost anything at all."

"The Arctic is referred to as the global storage of hydrocarbons. Do you think we should develop the Arctic shelf?"

"The territory of the Arctic shelf of Russia, the boundaries of which are approved by international agreements, makes up 4.1 million square kilometres. This is roughly the territory of the entire European Union. As for oil and gas production territories, it goes about the estimated two million square kilometres. It is now impossible to extract any type of hydrocarbon raw materials on the Arctic shelf, because there are no technologies for it. One should prepare the shelf for the development of not only hydrocarbon raw materials, but also other types of minerals. To effectively operate on the shelf, one needs equipment that neither Russia nor other countries have. On the Arctic shelf, there is a complex ice situation. Even in warm seas, as we know, oil rig disasters occur on a regular basis. When we analysed statistics, it turned out that 100% of floating platforms experience accidents.

"In other words, the technology to extract hydrocarbons on the Arctic shelf is underdeveloped. Russia has two major centres located on different ends of the Northern Sea Route. These centres that belong to Rosneft oil company will develop the technology for the Arctic shelf."

"What is the role of the Northern Sea Route for Russia?"

"With regard to the development of technologies, Russia takes the best position among Arctic states. We have the Northern Sea Route that the US, Canada, Greenland do not have. This route is a source of payback for all projects because of bunkering. Imagine a filling station, where cars stop one by one, but each of those cars buys not only 15-20 litres of gas, but three tons of fuel at retail, rather than wholesale prices. All oil companies of the world struggle for the opportunity of bunkering. In this respect, the Northern Sea Route is our perk and our opportunity to make up for our Arctic projects."

Interviewed by Lada Korotun

Read article on the Russian version of Pravda.Ru

Subscribe to Pravda.Ru Telegram channel, Facebook, RSS!

Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov