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Turning to the East
The Eastern Gas Program will reconsider
The Eastern Gas Program was adopted back in 2007. Now, 7 years later, there are objective reasons to revise some of its provisions. Russia's relations with a number of partners - key and potential consumers of Russian gas - have changed. New priorities have emerged in the development of Russian regions, primarily the eastern ones. Finally, the improvement of technologies and the discovery of several promising oil and gas fields played a significant role in the development of the industry. In short, the time has come to renew the plans formed several years ago.
This became the main content of the international scientific and practical conference "Development of oil and gas resources in Eastern Siberia and the Far East", held in Irkutsk and organized by OAO Gazprom, OOO Gazprom dobycha Irkutsk and the journal Neftegazovaya Vertikal.
So, what factors can influence the development of the industry? According to the Director General of the National Energy Security Fund Konstantin Simonov, given the current political and economic situation in the world, it’s just the right time to focus on the development of the Eastern Gas Program. And if in the last 5-7 years it was "in the background", now is the time, in the words of the expert, to speed it up. And at once for several reasons.
"If Europe says about diversification of gas supplies to Ukraine, we, naturally, should also meet the idea of diversification of customers, so the implementation of the Eastern gas program will be the number one task," said K. Simonov. - It is quite clear that Russia has no other way but to accelerate the implementation of the Eastern Gas Program. At the same time, it is very important to find the optimal combination of gas supplies for export and for the domestic market. We understand that for the development of the eastern territories of the country, gas is an important foundation. In implementing gas projects, an integrated approach should be applied. "
If with the Asian partners, first of all with China, at the given moment there are some tensions connected with the price policy and the volumes of deliveries, then, according to the expert, they will be eliminated by themselves within the next couple of months. Without Russian gas, China, according to Simonov, "the balance will not converge." Do not forget about other interesting partners for the Russian oil and gas industry - Japan, South Korea and Vietnam.
The question of how the regions themselves are ready to follow this path is in fact not so simple. Here is a concrete example. The deputy chairman of the board of Gazprom, Valery Golubev, described the Irkutsk region as a region "with an apparent disproportion between potential opportunities and the level of gasification and gas consumption that exists today."
If we talk in a simple way, this is the case when the "shoemaker walks without boots". On the one hand, the region has huge resources - it is about the reserves of the Kovykta field. There are specialized enterprises and qualified personnel. There is almost an ideal tax policy. This was stated, in particular, at the conference by the head of the region Sergey Eroshchenko.
At the same time, paradoxically, the region itself is gasified ... by only 8%.
"There are not many such reserved places as Irkutsk region where there is no pipeline gas," V. Golubev said. And he added that it is by no means a fact that in the coming years the gasification of the region will be able to bring it closer to the level that exists in the west of the country. Consumers in the Irkutsk region are not very much quantified, in addition, the territorially populated areas are quite scattered. It turns out, the representative of Gazprom stated, the large-scale gasification of this Russian region is again unprofitable without agreements with China. "We have time to work out the optimal solution. But without an agreement on gas supplies from China, it is premature to move further. Without the export component, the gasification of the Irkutsk region is possible only as a social project. The investments that we make must pay off, "V. Golubev said.
In essence, the same problems exist in neighboring regions of the Irkutsk region - Yakutia, Buryatia, Trans-Baikal Territory. Need for gasification, they have, but how big are the opportunities for this - it's still a question.
In addition to those already listed, one of the main problems here is infrastructure, in particular, the lack of normal roads. At the conference, the heads of the eastern regions said they were ready to consider the possibility of creating a transport infrastructure on their own. For the time being, honestly, it simply does not exist.
In a word, questions were raised at the conference more than the answers received. Will they be given in the near future and will it be possible to unravel this tangle of problems in which the solution of one task directly follows from the other? This will affect a number of factors.
So, much will depend on agreements with partners from Asian countries, on what terms and conditions and on what specific conditions they will be concluded. The result of the conference was the preparation of new gasification programs for each of the regions - its participants. In general, they are talking about solving the problems already mentioned above, but the specific parameters of these documents will be presented tentatively to 1 July 2014, and the final version of the programs will be ready by the end of this year. Actually, then they will act.
The company's plans are connected with large-scale gas programs. Note: they have nothing to do with the “Power of Siberia” project (this project is conducted by Gazprom). However, at a meeting in the Russian government, I. Sechin raised the question of whether Rosneft could gain access to the Sakhalin-2 gas pipeline (its operators are Gazprom and Shell). Connection to the gas pipeline is necessary for an oil company to implement an investment project for the construction of the Far Eastern LNG plant on Sakhalin. Production capacity of 5 million tons with an investment of about $ 12 billion is planned to start in 2018 year, but Rosneft does not have its own gas infrastructure passing through the entire island.
"The Power of Siberia" will become a common gas transmission system for the Irkutsk and Yakutia gas production centers and will transport gas from these centers through Khabarovsk to Vladivostok. The length of the gas pipelines entering the system will be about 4000 km (Yakutia - Khabarovsk - Vladivostok - about 3200 km, Irkutsk region - Yakutia - about 800 km); Productivity - 61 billion cubic meters. M of gas per year. Commissioning of the first part of the GTS "Power of Siberia" - the main gas pipeline "Yakutia - Khabarovsk - Vladivostok" is scheduled for the end of 2017 year.