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Russia warns BP it may lose Siberian gas licence
C Belton and E Crooks
RUSSIAN joint venture TNK-BP, which is 50 per cent owned by BP, has been told it is in violation of its agreement to develop Kovykta, its vast east Siberian gasfield.
The move is the latest sign of Russia’s tightening grip on its energy resources. The natural resources ministry gave TNK-BP three months to fix the violations or risk losing its licence.
TNK-BP declined to comment.
At the end of last year, Royal Dutch Shell was forced to cede control of Sakhalin-2, its $US22 billion ($28 billion) gas and oil project off the far east coast of Russia, to Gazprom, the state-controlled gas company, after months of pressure from the same ministry over alleged environmental violations. ..
(12 Feb 2007)
See also Russia tells BP: Meet ‘impossible’ target or sell up.
Russia: A Critical Evaluation of its Natural Gas Resources
E.O. Ndefo, P. Geng, S. Laskar, L. Tawofaing, and Michael J. Economides, Energy Tribune
The dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 and its replacement by the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), prominent among which was the Russian Federation, was a welcome event around the world. However, the subsequent development of Russian resources – particularly natural gas – has been disappointing. And the future of the Russian gas sector could be even worse. Contrary to widely-held beliefs, if current trends continue, Russia will have a severe natural gas shortfall by 2010. This prediction is astonishing given that Russia has more gas reserves than any other country, and one of the largest reserves-to-production ratios.
The reason for the looming gas shortfall is simple. Over the past several years, Gazprom, Russia’s state-owned natural gas monopoly, has not invested sufficiently, and lacks the technology to develop new gas fields to replace its rapidly depleting ones. From a Western point of view, the solution is simple: the Russian government should terminate Gazprom’s natural gas monopoly, and involve foreign oil companies and independent Russian ones in natural gas exploration, production, and transportation. However, it has no intention of doing so – at least not in the near future. And in typical fashion, Gazprom announced recently that it will not share the development of its huge Shtokman gas fields with outside companies.
There are complicated reasons behind the current state of Russia’s natural gas industry. A thorough understanding of the industry and its history is required before we can discuss its future.
This article examines Russia’s natural gas reserves, production, and transportation, with particular attention given to recent geopolitical events. The Russian gas industry’s problems – and possible solutions – will also be discussed.
(14 Feb 2007)
Activists shut down construction of LNG gas terminal in Milford Haven
Protesters against the continued and unrestrained promotion of fossil fuel projects by the UK government have blockaded the main vehicle access route into the new LNG pipeline terminal near Milford Haven, South Wales. Their aim is to highlight the serious environmental and safety issues surrounding this project, and to call for a more sober approach to the impending energy crisis.
(14 Feb 2007)