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Russian Oil - a Depletion Rate Model estimate of the future Russian oil production and export


Oil is a heavily used natural resource with a limited supply. Russia is one of the largest oil producers and the second largest oil exporting country in the world. Many surrounding countries are dependent on Russian energy. Swedish oil import from Russia has grown from 5% to 35% during 2001-2005.

The fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 caused the Russian oil production to drop by 50%. The production is currently growing again – but how will it develop in the future?

This report studies different scenarios for Russian oil production and export based on three different estimates of how much oil Russia has left today (70, 120 or 170 Gb), combined with estimates about how fast Russia can produce the oil (a depletion rate of 3%, 4.5% or 6%).

In the worst case, Russian oil production and also the oil export will peak very soon or has already done so in 2006. In the best case, a constant export can be held until 2036. It is not likely that the Russian production will increase more than 5-10% over today’s level.


Reading instructions

The thesis is divided into an introductory part about oil, three main parts and an appendix.
Some of the included chapters contain background information for the interested reader. The
most important chapters are marked with bold.

About oil
Readers with previous knowledge of oil can skip the “About oil” part or use it as a reference.
Chapter 1 describes oil related terms used in this thesis.
Chapter 2 discusses the importance of oil.
Part one: Introduction
Chapter 3 describes the peak oil concept
Chapter 4 describes the importance of Russia as an export country.
Chapter 5 discusses Russian importance for Sweden.

Part two: Russia
Readers with previous knowledge of the Russian oil market are recommended to read at least
the bold-marked chapters. Others might find it useful to read all chapters.
Chapter 6 is a review of the oil production history of Russia.
Chapter 7 describes the oil producing regions in Russia
Chapter 8 gives an overview of the Russian oil companies. At least chapter 8.4 discussing the future plans of Russia should be read in order to understand later discussion.
Chapter 9 discusses different estimates about how much oil is left in Russia. This is crucial for the modelling approach used.

Part three: Modelling
This is the most important part of the thesis and should be read in its entirety.
Chapter 10 introduces the three studied scenarios. Important concepts are also described.
Chapter 11 models Russian oil production using the Hubbert curve.
Chapter 12 describes the Depletion Rate Model.
Chapter 13 describes the results from the Depletion Rate Model.
Chapter 14 discusses the results obtained from the model.

Appendices and references
Appendix A (chapter 15) gives a closer look on the Swedish domestic energy usage.
Appendix B (chapter 16) describes the assumptions made for the Hubbert curve.
Appendix C (chapter 17) gives a better insight in the inner workings of the Depletion Rate

Editorial Notes: The original 100-page PDF is available online. Contributor Kjell Aleklett writes: The work is a diploma thesis from Uppsala Hydrocarbon Depletion Study Group, Uppsala University, Sweden, and the work is done with supervision by Professor Kjell Aleklett and Dr Colin Campbell.

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