America cannot do away without Russian oil

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December 21, 2015

Rossijskaya Gazeta

Translated from Russian by Kristina Rus for Fort Russ

 By Taras Fomchenkov

The composition of Russian energy exports have changed in 2015. The oil showed good growth, while gas exports did not increase much since last year. However the revenues have decreased – and quite significantly – on both counts.

According to CDU TEK, in 11 months of 2015 Russia supplied 222,808 million tons of oil abroad. This is 8.5% more than in the same period of last year. Only in November, by the way, the oil exports from Russia increased by 10% to 19,976 million tons.

Simultaneously, in ten months Russia exported 150,5 billion cubic meters of gas. In comparison with January-October of 2014 the growth amounted to only 2,73%. The “far abroad” countries received 117.9 billion cubic meters (an increase of 10.8%), the CIS countries – 32.6 billion (a decrease of 18.7%).

The prices left little optimism. The price of “black gold” dropped by almost 25% since the beginning of the year. If we talk about the Russian brand “Ural”, its price on average decreased 1.9 times from January to November 2015 from the same period of 2014 . According to the Ministry of Economic Development the average gas price, including the CIS countries, was $228 per one thousand cubic meters in 2015.

The income changed accordingly. In 10 months of the year it amounted to $35,209 billion for gas, which is a 25,65% decrease from the same period in 2014, according to the data of the Federal Customs Service. Our country received 1.75 times less from oil exports in January-October of 2015 compared to the same period of last year – $76,738 billion.

There are also issues with exports. Despite the slowdown in the global economy (according to different estimates it amounts to less than 3%), energy resources remain the “blood” of the modern world order. Therefore it is reasonable to think about the potential for the export of Russian hydrocarbons and new areas of cooperation.

Here assessments are also different. For example, “Transneft” predicts the decline of Russian oil exports in 2016 to 210 million tons from 222 million tons in 2015. This was announced by first vice-president Maxim Grishanin.

The head of the Energy Ministry of Russia, Alexander Novak expects Russian oil exports at the level of 237 million tonnes a year in 2015 and 2016. According to the Ministry of Economic Development, Russia will sell 227,5 million tons of “black gold” abroad in 2016

According to the forecast of the Ministry of Economic Development gas exports will amount to 174,7 billion cubic meters in 2016.

Operational statistics are not sufficient for the forecast to be more or less reliable, thinks the leading expert of the Union of Oil & Gas Producers, Rustam Tankaev. However, he says some assessments can be made.

“On petroleum products Russia is the absolute global leader in exports. In 2014, for example, our country sold 142 million tons abroad. Meanwhile exports of petroleum products – is a thing-in-itself, the data about it is very difficult to obtain, as it is technically difficult to prepare,” – said the expert.

If we talk about oil, continued Tankaev, this year we can expect a growth in exports compared with last year. Today we are competing with OPEC for the Chinese market, he said.

On oil and petroleum products Russia surpassed Saudi Arabia in 2015. And this caused a certain negative reaction. Saudi Arabia has long been number one in the Chinese market, and in 2015 Russia appeared in first place three times. And not because of dumping, but due to forging of partnerships that guarantee sales. So I think we will try to export more and more,” – suggested the expert.

It is unlikely that we can expect significant growth in the export of oil and petroleum products from Russia, says Tankaev. “Next year, more money will be seized from the oil companies in connection with the change of tax calculation formula. As a result, several projects may become economically unfeasible.

With gas the situation is very difficult, he continues, today the markets are unfortunately lost one after the other. In addition, in the European market the stumbling block for us is the third energy package, which in the framework of the old world contributes to the creation of a competitive environment. “Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that the export of gas in this segment will be reduced,” – he said.

If we talk about the export of the “blue fuel”, among the promising directions is China and the Asia-Pacific region. “In the structure of export of liquid hydrocarbons most of the growth in supply is expected in the Eastern direction, – said the head of Energy Ministry Alexander Novak at the 1st Eastern economic forum, which took place in September of this year. – It is expected that in the next 5 years oil deliveries from Russia to the Asia-Pacific region could rise to the level of 28-30% from the total export of Russian oil. By 2020 the share of Asia-Pacific countries in the structure of Russian gas exports is expected to increase from 7% to 19% with further increase to 41% by 2035. The share of LNG in the structure of gas exports is expected to grow from 7% to 17% by 2020 with subsequent increase to 23% by 2035″.

“In addition there are negotiations, for example, on the construction of a gas pipeline with a capacity of 12.4 billion cubic meters in Pakistan. This project is designed for liquefied natural gas (LNG). Interestingly, we have projects for the construction of LNG terminals, and there are several, but so far only one is implemented – “Yamal LNG”, including due to monopolization of the market”, – thinks Rustam Tankaev.

Now about oil. This year one of unexpected destinations for the exports of “black gold” became the US, reminds Rustam Tankaev. “Apparently, this market will continue to grow next year, especially as shale oil production in the New World is gradually declining due to low prices,” – he suggests.

As for Europe, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait are gradually replacing Russia in this market, lowering the cost of their oil. “At the same time, I am sure that we will not only preserve our share in the old world market, but will also multiply it, as unlike OPEC, we follow the path of partnership, rather than the usual price game. Same thing with China – the share is growing and will continue to grow as we increase the number of joint projects. And – we are awaiting the development of relations with India,” – he concluded.

Russian oil extraction (red) and oil exports (green) in tons

Russian gas extraction (red) and gas export (red) in cubic meters

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