Head of the government Dmitry Medvedev visited Yamal where he in the High North conditions participated in full-capacity launch of Zapolyarnoye gas condensate field. Start of the new gas treatment unit will allow increasing annual production volume from Valanzhinsky deposits up to 6,5 bln m3 of gas and 1,3 mln tons of gas condensate. Moreover, Gazprom plans to increase production from these deposits up to 15 bln m3. As a result, 130 bln m3 of gas will be extracted at Zapolyarnoye annually.
Dmitry Medvedev bounds the future of Russian oil and gas production with the development of High North resources, first of all – of the continental shelf of the northern seas, potential of which in respect to volumes of hydrocarbon resources has not been fully researched.
The problem is very simple. “Capital intensity of offshore projects is different from capital intensity of onshore ones”, - emphasized the head of the government at the meeting in Novy Yrengoy. Such fields need construction of a corresponding infrastructure, including creation of sea ports. “Of course, we need true geological data that we, frankly speaking, lack”, - added Mr. Medvedev. According to Sergey Donskoy, the Minister of Natural Resources and Ecology, knowledge about Russian shelf lags behind many other countries, for example the USA – 10 times. On the other hand, during the past 10 years two thirds of world’s newly discovered resources are exactly at the shelf. In Russia only 13 mln tons of oil and 55 bln m3 of gas were produced at the shelf in 2011.
Successful shelf development depends on stable state policy in this direction. “Of course, there should be stable and understandable legal regulations that will allow making long-term decisions, - noted the head of the government. – Due to the specificity of offshore operations all the decisions made should be long-term ones. Only in this case we will be able to accumulate necessary financial resources”.
The government, as is well-known, previously restricted the number of companies that can participate in Russian shelf development. However, now when there rises the issue of higher activity, it is ready to come back to the issue and take into consideration the wish of a number of companies having experience in marine operations to join the shelf development.
The state has its own requirements to the offshore development – special attention should be paid to environmental issues, especially after the accident and oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. “We should minimize the possibility of such catastrophes”, - claimed the head of the government. During G8 work Russia previously suggested creating an international mechanism for responding to such accidents. “Our domestic legislature should have corresponding insurance mechanisms, - Dmitry Medvedev thinks. – We need instruments that will allow avoiding or minimizing environmental impact”.
Arkady Dvorkovich, Vise Prime-Minister said that principal decisions have been made in respect to many issues, however, disputable questions remain. The government and state companies could not agree on the issue of approving private companies for offshore development. Gazprom’s head, Alexey Miller, during the meeting openly objected to such actions when developing gas fields. “We don’t understand why this should be done. There’re no problems nowadays, - claimed Mr. Miller to the journalists. – Gazprom is not going to share its activities with anybody”.
However, there are no disputes in economic terms of offshore activities. Vise Prime-Minister Dvorkovich reported that the head of the government claimed about equal conditions for existing licenses and those issued in future. “The model should be universal; there should be no differences in work conditions for the fields that already have licenses and the new ones that will get the licenses. The decision here is final and cannot be appealed”, - he claimed. However, the cabinet believes licensing conditions could be different for different companies.
Nowadays a part of Gazprom licenses – for 17 areas – is being approved by federal ministries and departments, and new Rosneft’s applications for 12 areas of the shelf have been corrected taking into account country’s demands in geological surveys and, Dvorkovich believes, will soon be approved.