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The Way to Leadership

The Far East in the coming years will become a leader in the energy sector

The Far East, becoming a new center of industrial development, is gradually becoming one of the leading producers and exporters of oil, gas and coal in the country. There is an active development of new deposits, processing facilities are being built. The macro-region focuses in its depths enormous reserves of energy resources, and even the negative trends of recent years associated with a decrease in the cost of raw materials do not affect the vector of its development.

The Way to Leadership

Rostislav Turovsky

Doctor of Political Sciences, Professor of HSE, Scientific Editor East Russia

In the fuel and energy sector of Russia, the Far East occupies a leading role, although not inferior to Siberia, but it demonstrates a pronounced positive dynamics, being the main center of new industrial development in the country. In oil production in the country, the share of the macroregion is about 4,4%. The gas production is about the same level and is about 5%. The macroregion accounts for 8,7% of all coal exports, and in general, in 2015, coal production increased by 18,1%, to 6 165,7 thousand tonnes. In terms of electricity generation, the Far East remains, however, in the last place among Russia's energy zones with a share of 4,5% (47,7 billion kWh). At the same time, one should not forget about the most important transit role of the Far East, through which oil and coal are exported from other regions of the country, primarily Siberia. In this regard, the flow of oil through the unique pipeline "Eastern Siberia - Pacific Ocean" is constantly growing, the capacity of the coal port terminals in the Primorsky and Khabarovsk Territories is expanding. 

In recent years, in the Far Eastern fuel and energy sector, special emphasis has been placed on the production of liquefied natural gas (LNG), which has become a kind of "visiting card" of the macroregion. The most successful project is the first in Russia LNG plant built within the framework of the Sakhalin-2 project (dealt with by Gazprom and Shell). In 2015, LNG production in the Sakhalin-2 project amounted to 10,8 million tons.

Speaking of future LNG projects, Rosneft plans to build a Far Eastern LNG plant, although the company has already faced some difficulties at the stage of developing its idea. Thus, the 2015 year was marked by litigation between Gazprom and Rosneft. As a result, Rosneft chose to choose another location for the Far Eastern LNG and now plans to locate it in the Khabarovsk Territory, near the DeKastri oil terminal. In addition, in the Primorsky Territory another Gazprom project was planned for the production of liquefied natural gas, Vladivostok LNG. However, due to the unfavorable economic situation, this project had to be postponed. At the same time, there are plans to build a new - the third stage of the existing LNG plant in Sakhalin, which still remains an industry leader.

In addition, the Russian government recently proposed that Japanese companies build new plants for the production of liquefied natural gas on Sakhalin and along the route of the "Siberia Power" gas pipeline. However, the situation on the world LNG market has become more complicated. The revenues of Sakhalin Energy, operator of the Sakhalin-2 project, from LNG exports continue to decline. In the first half of the year 2016, the company received 1,7 billion dollars, which is 34% less than the same period last year. In these conditions, it is looking for new markets (for example, in China) and does not leave plans to expand production.

Meanwhile, the Far East is gradually becoming a major producer and exporter of "conventional" natural gas, which previously had only local importance. The main project here was the construction of the "Siberia Power" gas transmission system, which will run through the territory of the Irkutsk region, Yakutia, the Amur region, the Jewish Autonomous Region and the Khabarovsk Territory. The system will allow delivering gas from Yakutsk and Irkutsk gas production centers to Far Eastern consumers and for export to China. Deliveries should begin as early as 2019. The total length of the gas pipeline will be about 4000 km, the design capacity - 61 billion cubic meters of gas per year. The base deposit of the Yakutia gas production center is the Chayandinskoye oil and gas condensate field, which contains large reserves of natural gas. Its development will turn Yakutia into one of the leading gas producing regions of Russia.

At the moment, the implementation of the project is proceeding according to the schedule, in 2016 the construction of 400 km of the pipeline is planned. However, there is an opinion that the realizing this project of Gazprom will face difficulties with its financing. In the context of the slowdown of China's economy, there may also be problems with the sale of natural gas. Nevertheless, while the "Force of Siberia" does not appear serious difficulties that would prevent the implementation of the project. In addition, the construction of the Amur gas processing plant in the Svobodnensky district of the Amur region begins, and it will become a resident of the TOR "Svobodnenskaya". The plant should become the largest in Russia and one of the world's largest production facilities with a design capacity of up to 42 billion cubic meters per year.

Offshore oil production is already steady is another direction of development of the Far Eastern fuel and energy complex. The Far East has become the main Russian center of offshore mining, which is also its unique characteristic. The main producer, Sakhalin Region, continues to increase production (last year growth was 14,3%), which in the first half of 2016 of the year amounted to 9,6 million tons, including gas condensate, which is 13,3% more than the same period. However, the proportions between the main projects of Sakhalin are changing. Production is expected to decrease at the Sakhalin-2 project in accordance with the technological scheme for the development of the Piltun-Astokhskoye field. At the same time, production growth is planned at the Sakhalin-1 project.

New prospects for the oil industry in the Far East are related to the development of the shelf of more remote regions, primarily in the north of the Sea of ​​Okhotsk, near the coast of the Magadan Region. As in the case of the gas industry, the Far East is far from being guided simply by the extraction and export of raw materials. The development of oil refining in the Far East (so far focused on enterprises in the Khabarovsk Territory) will be facilitated by the complex of the Eastern Petrochemical Company (VNKhK) in Primorsky Krai, controlled by Rosneft. It will become the main future TOR "Neftekhimicheskiy".

Increasing production and export, the coal industry of the Far East is developing. Yakutia remains one of the main growth points in this industry. First, there is growing production at the Elga field of the Mechel company. In the first half of 2016, the company increased coal production at this field by 8% compared to the same period last year - to 2 million tons. Despite the well-known financial difficulties of Mechel, this project continues to be implemented, but already with the participation of state banks (first of all - Gazprombank). Secondly, another major industry player, Colmar, is preparing to launch the Inaglinsky coal mine in Yakutia, which is one of the priority investment projects supported by the state. Last year, he received government support for infrastructure development in the amount of 560 million rubles. In the summer of 2016, the Inaglinskaya-1 concentrator was commissioned, and the projects of the Inaglinskaya-2 and Inaglinskaya-3 factories are being prepared.

In addition, the coal companies, working for export, contribute to the construction of large port terminals, mainly in the Khabarovsk Territory. SUEK and "Sakhatrans" (Volga Group) are engaged in increasing the capacity of the coal terminal in Muchke Bay, Vanino Port, which will allow 2020 to send up to 24 million tons of coal per year to XNUMX. The Sakhatrans project is also among the supported by the federal government.

Gradually, other regions of the Far East are among the major coal producers. The Australian company Tigers Realm Coal Limited, which will develop the Coking Coal Fandushkinskoye Pole field, is planning to expand its presence in Chukotka (this project is being implemented on the territory of the Beringovsky PDA). The development of the Herbikano-Ogodzhinsky deposit in the Amur Region, which is seen as part of a powerful coal-energy project in Russia and China, focused on electricity production and its export to a neighboring country, can open up completely new opportunities for the coal industry of the macroregion.

However, the problem of high tariffs for electricity remains acute in the macro-region. The cost of electricity in the Far East, which is an isolated grid, is in the range of 3,34 rubles per kilowatt / hour to 9,2 rubles, while the average tariff for the country is 3,19 rubles. Translation of the generation of the Far East into cheaper gas fuel began only recently. And in general, the development of Far Eastern energy is proceeding with a serious delay. The regions face the problem of outgoing capacities, the projects of RusHydro and its subsidiary OAO RAO ES Vostoka are designed to solve. At the moment, they are constructing four new power facilities in the Far East: a CHP plant in Sovetskaya Gavan in the Khabarovsk Territory, Sakhalinskaya GRES-2 (1-th line), Yakutskaya GRES-2 (1-th line), Blagoveschenskaya TPP (2-I turn) in the Amur region. In addition, the structures of Rosatom are planning to install a floating nuclear power plant (NPPP) off the coast of Chukotka, which will be able to replace the Bilibino NPP being decommissioned.

Part of the problem of energy supply to the Far East allows us to solve the use of its powerful hydropower potential. RusHydro is building the Nizhne-Bureiskaya HPP in the Amur Region, which is scheduled to start in December 2016. It is planned to install two additional hydraulic units at the Ust-Srednekanskaya hydroelectric station in the Magadan region. However, the long-standing idea to transform the Far East into a major exporter of electricity (primarily to China) remains just an idea (as well as the project of an energy bridge connecting Sakhalin with Japan).

Meanwhile, the federal government is developing various options for reducing energy tariffs in the Far East, the high level of which hampers economic development and increases the cost of any production in the macro-region. However, the final decision on this issue has not yet been made. The plans also include the construction of new energy bridges and power lines, which are necessary for the implementation of large-scale raw materials projects (in particular, the energy bridge connecting the Magadan Region and Chukotka).

Recently, it is worth noting the development of alternative energy in the Far East. It will provide the remote areas with energy and reduce its cost, and in addition, replace the outgoing diesel power. In the Far East, active work on the creation of alternative energy is being conducted by JSC RAO ES of the East, which for 2013-2015 has been in progress. built eight solar power plants and three wind generation facilities. Recent projects include the commissioning in 2015 of a solar power plant in the village of Batagai of the Verkhoyansk district of the Sakha Republic (Yakutia) with a capacity of 1 MW, which is the largest of its kind in the Arctic Circle. In May, Sakhaenergo (a subsidiary of Yakutskenergo, which is part of OAO RAO UES of the East) began construction of solar generation facilities in three remote and hard-to-reach villages in Yakutia. The development of renewable energy sources is indeed very important for the republic, since due to the use of diesel stations in the Arctic zone of Yakutia, the average electricity tariff is twice as high as in the central regions.

In addition, wind energy is gradually developing. So, in 2015, RAO ES of the East, together with Japanese companies Komai Haltec Inc and Mitsui & Co, built wind parks in Ust-Kamchatsk, Kamchatka Territory and in the village of Novikovo, Sakhalin Region. The Government of Yakutia is implementing a joint project with Komai Haltec Inc to build an experimental 1 MW wind farm in the polar village of Tiksi.

Meanwhile, Kamchatka has another unique resource - geothermal energy, which provides about 40% of electricity demand in the region. Now there is preparing to launch a new well, which will expand the capacity of Mutnovskaya GeoPP, one of the main producers of electricity of the Central Kamchatka energy center. It is worth noting that the topic of alternative energy in the Far East is in the center of attention of the federal authorities. In the spring of 2016, Deputy Prime Minister and Presidential Plenipotentiary to the Far Eastern Federal District Y. Trutnev emphasized the importance of geothermal energy in Kamchatka and encouraged the development of this type of renewable energy in the region to continue.

Thus, the fuel and energy complex of the Far East has recently been developing successfully, gradually turning the macro-region into one of the leading producers and exporters of oil, gas and coal in the country. A number of large projects of the Far Eastern fuel and energy complex are included in the territories of advanced development or have the status of priority investment projects supported by federal authorities. The Far East has its own distinct specialization, such as LNG production and offshore oil and gas production. The difficulties in the development of the fuel and energy complex were connected both with the financial problems of individual business players and with the external factors of the changing situation on the world energy market. In general, we can say that the industry was resistant to challenges and adapted to the prevailing conditions. Meanwhile, it is still not possible to solve the problem of high electricity tariffs, which seriously limit the potential of the economy of the Far East.

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