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"China will consume very little gas"

"China will consume very little gas"

Alexey Mastepanov

Deputy Director of the Institute of Oil and Gas Problems of the Russian Academy of Sciences

Deputy Director of the Institute of Oil and Gas Problems of the Russian Academy of Sciences Alexei Mastepanov - on the prospects of a gas contract with China

After the signing of the gas contract with China and in many mass media and at various conferences, a new wave of criticism of the project has risen - and the terms of the contract are unprofitable for Russia, and the implementation of the project will require such huge investments that it will never pay off, and in general It would be right to call the gas transmission system not "The Power of Siberia" but the "Golden Stream". Of course, this criticism is much fair, but, apart from criticism, we must also offer solutions. And in this regard, the situation reminds me of the one that developed some time ago, when they actively opposed oil and gas to innovations. What did not sound like reinforcing the theses about the need to "get off the oil needle" and "overcome the resource curse"! Meanwhile, the availability of oil and gas resources is not a curse, but a boon if they are properly disposed of. The problem is not the availability of resources, but the effectiveness of their development and the use of revenues from them.

In the wake of this criticism, many experts, including foreign ones, question the very readiness of China to import significant volumes of gas from Russia. And the main argument sounds like this: China’s own shale gas production will actively develop in China, and gas imports from Central Asian countries will increase, which is why China doesn’t really need Russian gas.

However, gas consumption in the PRC is growing rapidly. If in 2000, this figure was only 24 billion cubic meters. m, then in 2010 - already 107 billion. Over 10 years, gas consumption has increased by 5 times and in 2013 it was 167,6 billion cubic meters. At the same time, if in the 2000 year, all gas consumed in the country was extracted there, then in 2010, the volume of gas imports amounted to 16,5 billion cubic meters. m, and in 2013 year - 53 billion, of which 25 billion came in liquid form and 28 billion - through pipelines.

It should also be emphasized that the dynamic development of gas production in China began only in the 21st century. As far back as 2000, only 24,5 billion cubic meters were mined here. The nearest prospects for the development of the gas industry are determined by the State Plan of China for the XII Five-Year Plan, which ends this year. According to the plan, this year the total consumption of natural gas in China should reach 260 billion cubic meters. M, and the share of gas in the structure of energy consumption exceeds 8%. At the same time, China's dependence on gas imports would have been more than 40% by the end of the XII Five-Year Plan.

These plans are mainly implemented, although not in full. According to the latest adjustments to the gas industry development plan, the production of natural gas of the traditional type should increase to 138,5 billion cubic meters. M, consumption - up to 230 billion cubic meters. According to estimates of specialists from the Gazprom representative office in China, the main increase in gas consumption by the end of the five-year plan will, as now, be achieved through gas imports, through the further development of the West-East gas pipeline system.

Import of liquefied gas will also increase. Currently, 11 liquefied gas receiving terminals with a total nominal capacity of 32,5 billion cubic meters are operating in the country. Until the end of the five-year plan (that is, this year), more 5 terminals will be put into operation. Nevertheless, China will still consume very little gas, if you look not just in billions of cubic meters. m, and as a percentage of the total energy consumption of the country. That is, this year, at best, the share of gas in total energy consumption will reach 6,5-7%. And the overall growth will continue.

As for the extraction of its own gas, and first of all the shale, methane of coal seams, China does make great efforts in this area and can rely on its own energy resources. However, to date, no special results have been achieved. The same production of shale gas in 2012 was only 50 million cubic meters. M, in 2013 year - 200 million cubic meters. The extraction of methane from coal seams is also slowly increasing. In 2010, it amounted to 1,5 billion cubic meters. M, in 2011 - 2,3 billion, in 2012 - 2,6 billion, in 2013 and 2014 - in 3 billion cubic meters. M.

In August last year, the State Energy Administration of China reported a reduction in the benchmark for the production of shale gas to 2020. And the reason for such reassessments is banal: according to the Chinese press, the main problems are the more complex geological structure and the greater depth of occurrence of shale gas deposits compared to the United States, hence the greater costs of well construction and gas production. The second reason is the lack of a developed gas pipeline network, which further increases the cost of producing such gas. Therefore, it can not be ruled out that the situation with methane of coal seams may repeat: after 20-year efforts, its production amounted to only 3 billion cubic meters. M.

At the level of 2020 of the year, according to the latest forecasts of Chinese experts, China’s need to import natural gas will be at least 200-220 billion cubic meters. According to experts of the representative office of Gazprom in China, it is likely that it will be even higher, because the planned production levels in 200 billion cubic meters. m look overestimated due to the exhaustion of resources of traditional gas and already noted problems with the production of unconventional gas.

To date, China has concluded contracts for the supply of pipeline gas with Turkmenistan, with Myanmar, with Uzbekistan and with Russia. In addition, the Kazakhstan-China gas pipeline was built, the resource base of which is the joint Chinese-Kazakh enterprise and the base deposit Zhanazhol. Thus, the contracted volume of pipeline gas supplies is 125 billion cubic meters. M, and to these you can add here this top ten Kazakhstani - in total it turns out 135 billion cubic meters. M of pipeline gas. And the total volume of contracts for the supply of liquefied natural gas is about 60 million tons, that is, about 83 billion cubic meters. M.

One of the most important prerequisites that made it possible to sign an agreement on the Eastern route and create a basis for concluding new contracts in the future is the reform of natural gas prices in China. An important element of this reform was the Decree of the State Committee for Reforms and Development of 26 December 2011 "On the experiment on reforming the mechanism of pricing for natural gas in Guangdong and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region" and from 2013 year "On regulation of prices for natural gas" . What does this reform give? The fact that the price of gas in China is rising from the social, under which Chinese gas importers bore billions of dollars of losses each year, becomes market.

When it comes to the Eastern contract, critics very often say that only events in Ukraine and American and European sanctions forced Russia to turn to the East. However, this is misleading, since the issue of diversifying the country's export markets, in particular the gas market, sounded back in 1995 in the country's first energy strategy. Russia must diversify the export flows of Russian energy resources to ensure its energy security. And it is from these positions, in my opinion, that one should evaluate the conclusion of a contract with China, and the construction gas pipeline "Power of Siberia", And the creation of new plants for liquefying natural gas both in the Far East and in other regions of Russia. But what has been done is only the first step, after which further development of the gas transportation system in the east is necessary, further development of cooperation. And since gas resources in the east of Russia are known to have a complex component composition, it is necessary to create in these regions a number of large gas processing complexes and even chemical industries.

After analyzing the capabilities of this region, we came to the conclusion that in the east of Russia it is quite possible to form two systems of petrochemical and chemical clusters - East Siberian and Far Eastern. And each such system will be a complex of projects for the development in the region of advanced oil refining capacity, the creation of gas processing and petrochemical production facilities, including the production of the final petrochemical industry. But in order for all this to be fully realized, it is necessary to support research teams that are working on domestic technologies.

From the speech at XIII Moscow International Energy Forum "Russian Fuel and Energy Complex in the XXI Century".

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