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Gazprom’s strategy in the east of Russia



Author Yu. Kuznichenkov

Vladimir Putin and Alexei Miller at the ceremony of putting into operation of the first gas transportation system start-up complex sakhalin — Khabarovsk — Vladivostok
Vladimir Putin and Alexei Miller at the ceremony of putting into operation of the first gas transportation system start-up complex sakhalin — Khabarovsk — Vladivostok

The Government and President of the Russian Federation are aiming to turn our country into one of the global economy leaders and to reach the social and economic development level of the highly industrialized states. In particular, by 2020 Russia is going to become one of the top five countries in terms of economic power, i.e. gross domestic product.

An important part in the solution of these tasks belongs to the East of Russia (Eastern Siberia and the Far East). This region comprises 18 constituent entities of the two Russia’s federal districts — Siberian and Far-Eastern. The area of this region amounts to 10,300,000 square kilometres (60.5 percent of the Russian Federation). However, only 16,300,000 people inhabit that huge territory (11.3% of the country’s population).

The region’s natural resources are rich and diverse, but still not sufficiently used. In order to use the natural resources of the East of Russia efficiently we need energy: energy of thought, energy of action; we need energy resources and power engineering.

“The Energy Strategy of Russia for the Period of up to 2020” approved by the Government of the Russian Federation entrusted the gas industry with the following tasks related to the East of Russia: fast development of the industry; formation and development of new large gas producing districts and regions; Russia’s entry into gas markets of the Asia-Pacific Region.

The solution of these tasks is imposed on the Eastern Gas Program (formal name — Development Program for an integrated gas production, transportation and supply system in Eastern Siberia and the Far East, taking into account potential gas exports to China and other Asia-Pacific countries) adopted by the Government of the Russian Federation on September 3, 2007.

The main purpose of the program is to establish efficient gas industry in the East of Russia and thus to create conditions necessary for rapid social and economic growth of the region, for improvement of living standards of the local population.

The scope of the program planned up to the year of 2030 may be illustrated by the following figures: more than 2.4 trillion rubles is required for the program implementation; total macroeconomic effect of the program implementation is estimated at 27.8 trillion rubles; tax revenues of the federal and regional budgets of the Russian Federation for the entire period of the program implementation will amount to nearly 3,8 trillion rubles; the program implementation in the period of 2015–2030 will provide for additional GDP growth in the East of Russia — from 3.5 to 13.4% per year; the total natural gas export via pipelines may amount up to 50 billion cubic meters, and the volume of LNG supply to Asia-Pacific countries may amount to at least 28 billion cubic meters.

In accordance with the decisions of the Government of the Russian Federation, the Development Program for an integrated gas production, transportation and supply system in Eastern Siberia and the Far East, taking into account gas exports to China and other Asia-Pacific countries is now being implemented, Gazprom acting as the coordinator.

The program is a fundamental document defining the long-term strategy of gas industry development in the East of the country and includes a set of interrelated activities, the implementation of which (in accordance with the approved parameters) will, in addition to the construction of “Eastern Siberia — Pacific Ocean” pipeline system, enable to significantly increase the level of social and economic development of the Far East of Russia, and also provide for the Russian natural gas markets’ diversification and for protection of Russia’s geopolitical interests.

The natural gas resources available in the Eastern Siberia and in the Far East allow to satisfy the demand of the Russia’s eastern regions and also to secure export deliveries in the long term. The initial aggregate gas resources of the East of Russia account for 52.4 trillion cubic meters onshore and 14.9 trillion cubic meters offshore.

The Eastern gas program provides for the following stages of development of gas resources of the Eastern Siberia and Far East and the following principal scheme of development of the region’s gas transmission system:

  • Stage one — establishment of the Sakhalin gas production center.
  • Stage two — establishment of the Yakutia gas production center.
  • Stage three — establishment of the Krasnoyarsk gas production center.
  • Stage four — establishment of the Irkutsk gas production center.

A separate part of the Eastern gas program is presented by the Sakhalin region, where the demand for gas is incredibly high. That is why the company pays so much attention to Sakhalin offshore projects; for instance, Kirinskoye deposit will be placed under production as early as in the next year. The “big” gas will radically change the local economy structure, which will certainly influence on the constituent entity’s financial state.

The Sakhalin island shelf is best prepared for gas production and supply to consumers in the Russia’s Far East. Gazprom company is participating in Sakhalin-2 project as its main shareholder. Russia’s first liquefied natural gas plant was constructed within the framework of this project, and LNG is now being supplied to foreign consumers. The plant reached its design capacity in 2010.

Sakhalin-3 is another large project developed by Gazprom company. The company holds licenses for Kirinsky, Vostochno-Odoptinsky and Ayashsky blocks, and also for Kirinskoye deposit; Gazprom has already started development of the deposit. For the first time in Russia such offshore production method and process will be applied that involve use of subsea production complexes — not platforms but subsea production complexes. Moreover, for the first time in Russia the offshore production will be carried out using subsea production complexes — not platforms but subsea production complexes.

In September of 2010, the company discovered a new deposit within the Kirinsky block — Yuzhno-Kirinskoye deposit with the gas reserves of 260 billion cubic meters.

Gazprom company is also constructing Sakhalin — Khabarovsk — Vladivostok gas transport system (GTS) exploration activities are carried out on 18 license blocks. In 2005, Beryambinskoye field was discovered. In the Irkutsk region, the exploration works are carried out on 5 license blocks. Chikanskoye field has been discovered. “General scheme for gas supply and gasification of the Irkutsk region” has been developed and is now implemented. The scheme involves the development of a model of Gazprom company’s cooperation with independent subsurface users holding licenses for the development of small and medium-size fields.

In the Krasnoyarsk Territory, works on the exploration of the Sobinskoye field oil rims are carried out.

The possibility of building gas-processing and gas chemical complexes based on this field is being negotiated. A new field — Abakanskoye field — was discovered in 2010 .

In the Irkutsk region, Chikanskoye field was brought into pilot production in 2008, and issues related to gas transport facilities are currently negotiated, which includes transport facilities necessary for gas supply of the towns of Sayanks, Angarsk and Irkutsk. In 2007, first phase of the gas pipeline supplying gas from Bratskoye field to Bratsk consumers was completed. In 2011, Gazprom company purchased the assets of RUSIA Petroleum company.

Works on the establishment of the Kamchatka territory gas supply system have been started, Sobolevo — Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky gas transmission pipeline has been constructed, and gas supplies to the territory’s center have been launched. Currently, Gazprom Company is constructing Kshukskoye and Nizhne-Kvakchikskoye fields located on the western coast of Kamchatka peninsula.

Simultaneously with the construction works, preparation for the exploration of West Kamchatka shelf is conducted, because the existing onshore deposits do not allow for stable gas supply of the territory in the long-term.

Since the gas produced from the largest deposits of the East of Russia is characterized by high content of uranium, propane, butane, other hydrocarbons and helium, the Program envisages the establishment of a number of large gas-processing and gas chemical facilities focused on export, which enterprises will provide the production volume of at least 13.6 million tons a year by 2030. The demand for helium (especially in nuclear power engineering) is forecasted to increase almost four times by 2030, due to the unique properties of helium. Under such circumstances, it is inadmissible to develop high helium content gas fields of Eastern Siberia and Yakutia merely for the sake of methane fuel gas.

Such specifics requires a different approach to be applied in the development of resources of Yakutsk, Irkutsk and Krasnoyarsk centers, not the same as in the development of Western Siberia resources. It is necessary to apply the most up-to-date high technologies and to make full use of all of the components contained in the produced gas. It is not only about gas production, but also about establishment of a cluster of gas chemical enterprises in the East of Russia and about export of high value-added products.

Within the framework of implementation of the Eastern Gas Program, Gazprom company is negotiating over some conceptual proposals related to the establishment of processing facilities in the Eastern Siberia and Far East. Currently, the company is considering the possibility to establish:

  • gas processing plant and gas chemical complex in the Krasnoyarsk Territory, based on Sobinsko-Paiginskoye oil & gas condensate field.
  • gas processing plants and gas chemical complexes in the Irkutsk region, including based on the gas resources of Chikanskoye gas condensate field;
  • gas processing plants and gas chemical complexes in the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), LNG plant and gas chemical complex based on the gas resources of Chayandinskoye oil and gas condensate field.

Judging by the prospects of the Eastern Siberia and Far East social and economic development as well as Eastern gas program’s potential, in 10–15 years gas will take a sustainable position in the regions’ fuel and energy balance and by the year of 2020, gas will account for 28–38% of total consumption of the boiler and furnace fuel in these regions.

By now, Gazprom company has signed Agreements of Cooperation with eleven out of fourteen Eastern Siberian and Far Eastern regions and Gasification Agreements — with nine of them.

The implementation of the Eastern gas program will require not only new technologies but also highly skilled specialists. Gazprom is planning to train a major part of them “locally”, in the regions of the Eastern Siberia and Far East. As is known, Gazprom company has a System for continuous corporate professional education. The system includes the following: organization of training and advanced training for workers (294 professions) in the training subdivisions within the system; support in the training of young specialist having higher education; organization of advanced training (540 workshops) and professional retraining (4 programs) for leaders and specialists having higher education; apprenticeships at Gazprom company’s production facilities for leaders, specialists and workers; pre-certification training for leaders, specialists and workers.

Within the framework of that system, a unique training base has been opened in the Training center of Gazprom Transgaz Tomsk, with a number of full-scale simulators and models of the gas transport system equipment. Some of the equipment items can be controlled remotely by means of the supervisory control systems. The training base is intended for the acquisition of skills related to using both existing technologies and future technologies proposed for implementation.

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