Sunday, 14 April 2013 09:34

China wants to produce oil on the shelf in the Arctic

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Development of the shelf - a topic that has long stirs the minds and pockets of oil and gas companies in the world. Coast of Africa, Latin America and North America attract investors, the Far East, the Caspian Sea and the Arctic expanses cause energy giants keen interest.

Even China is engaged in the development of technologies that allow for oil production under the water, and announced the production of its own icebreakers for the Arctic. However, in implementing the most ambitious projects raises questions of profitability, the environment, the bureaucracy and the division of spheres of influence between the states.

In early May, Rosneft signed an agreement with the Norwegian Statoil strategic cooperation agreement. Foreign partners will get 33.3% at four sites in the Barents Sea and the Sea of Okhotsk, selected for joint development. Norwegians pay the full costs of exploration, and the first exploration well to appear on the site Magadan-1 no later than 2016. Rosneft in turn will help with the development of Statoil Norwegian shelf.

Russian companies have complained that public monopolies are not allowed to participate in offshore projects. Under current rules, to develop offshore field can only state-owned companies or joint ventures, in which the majority is in the hands of state companies.

Rosneft head Eduard Khudainatov himself recently complained that Rosneft has not signed any agreement with Russian companies for the development of coastal areas. As he says, Rosneft has sent letters of invitation to all the private players in the Russian oil industry, including Surgutneftegaz and Bashneft, to participate in the development of the twelve regions of the Russian shelf. The answer came, but from other companies. So far from Rosneft just five offshore sites, which are not yet concluded partnership agreements. This Magadan-2 and 3, the South Sea area, the South-Russian plot and Medyn-Varandey sea.

At the round table in the Chamber of Commerce, "Perspectives on the shelf of the Russian oil companies' discussed these and other discrepancies regarding energy production seabed. Even today, it is clear that production plans are on the shelf, set five years ago, will not be fulfilled, and more or less significant offshore development can be no earlier than 2030. This is largely due to disruption of the State's obligations to ensure the companies infrastructure. Projected to achieve a level of 12% of total production, but experts say that the real figures are much lower.

According to the participants, one of the most important factors that could have a negative impact on the implementation of plans for development of the continental shelf, is to restrict access to its resources. They believe that the development of the shelf should allow private companies that meet certain criteria, for example, are registered in the Russian Federation experienced offshore at least 5 years, the total amount of taxes and fees paid by all legal entities of the Russian budget is not below 300 billion. At the same time, the participants emphasized that the development of the shelf - a costly venture, and investors will need the support of the state.

Modern calculations show that the development costs of 1 ton of recoverable reserves in Western Siberia is $ 30, in Eastern Siberia - $ 80, and on the Sakhalin shelf soar to $ 300. The most expensive will be the development of the Arctic shelf. Here, every ton of crude oil will cost $ 700.

In the search and exploration of the Arctic shelf of Russia in the coming decades will have to invest about $ 1 trillion. "One meter exploration well offshore is worth a million rubles. Where to find them? Without the active participation of the state to resolve these issues would be impossible ", - the head of the Union of Russian Oil and Gas, the deputy chairman of the RF CCI Committee on Energy Strategy and Energy Development Gennady Schmal. He is sure that not only the infrastructure, but also the costs of search and exploration on the shelf must fall on the shoulders of the state. However, he expressed his concern at the lack of regulatory framework for offshore equipment. Safety and reliability engineering, operating in the most difficult conditions, in fact, not supported by any technical regulations and standards. He considers it appropriate to create a separate branch of engineering, designed to produce equipment for oil and gas.

As for the ambitious plans for the Arctic shelf, in the opinion of an expert on offshore oil and gas projects, Adviser to the Director of the ATR "NGS-Orgproektekonomika" Chingiz Huseynov, not only Russia but the whole world, in principle, are not yet ready to conquer the Arctic and the development of the Northern Arctic Ocean.

However, while domestic oil companies pose a real problem. Vice-president of "Lukoil" Vladimir Mulyak among the main priorities of the company called the North Caspian, from which in 1995 began offshore projects. Already in 2010, a subsidiary of "LUKoil" launched the development of the field to them. Yuri Korchagin, which this year will have a production level of 2 million tons, with a maximum level could reach 2.5 million tons. Total cost, according to Alekperov, despite state preferences, were enormous and were about $ 47 billion.

"LUKOIL" is also the owner of such major projects as Kravtsovskoye offshore fields located in the Baltic and Barents Sea Varandey oil export terminal. The latter was in the Guinness Book of Records, because in spite of the harsh conditions transpolar Varandey works 365 days a year and is able to overload up to 12 million tons of oil annually. Gradually there is a development of the Sarmatian deposits in the Caspian Sea, but, as the vice-president of "Lukoil", recently the company more profitable to work on international projects, such as in Ghana or on the same shelf of the Caspian Sea, but in the territory of Kazakhstan. According to him, Russia has prevented the company legal restrictions and bureaucracy.

As noted by the round table, all offshore development is not far off, and sooner or later the oil and gas companies will have to seriously take up the development of undersea energy resources. However, until they stop not only the fabulous cost of exploration and construction of subsea infrastructure. Lack of technical regulations and standards for equipment in conjunction with the admission to the exploration and development of offshore commercial firms may not be the best way to affect the environment. Hydrogen sulphide, and related subsea drilling, can instantly destroy the diversity of life, such as the Caspian Sea, we need only a small leak. It is unknown who and how will the reliability of the infrastructure and equipment for offshore operations.

Concerned about these issues, not only in Russia, where the appetite for energy giants while holding back the state. In particular, the Norwegian government has extended a moratorium on oil production in the Arctic shelf in Lofoten, Vesterålen and Senja 2013. "The unique marine ecosystem will be protected. At least until the next elections, "- said in a press release from WWF.

Anastasia Kazimirko-Kirillov


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