BRICS countries will be able to join oil and gas projects in the Arctic
On October 13-14, 2020, a meeting of BRICS Ministers of Energy was held via videoconference. Speaking at the event, Russian Minister of Energy Alexander Novak said that Russia’s Arctic zone holds immense hydrocarbon reserves, estimated at 7.33 billion metric tons of oil and 50.45 trillion cubic meters of natural gas, or 24.7% and 72.1% of Russia’s total recoverable reserves, respectively.
The minister underscored that he considers natural gas – Russia ranks first in the world in terms of proven reserves – to be one of the most promising and environmentally friendly hydrocarbons of the 21st century. The main trend of recent years backs up his statement – the rapid expansion of the liquefied natural gas (LNG) market. He noted that in 2019, Russia became one of the five largest global LNG producers, and by 2035, our country plans to increase production from the current 29 million to 140 million metric tons of LNG per year.
Alexander Novak added that in the foreseeable future, conventional energy sources will continue to account for the most significant part of the global energy balance. “According to the BRICS Energy Research Cooperation Platform forecast, by 2040, the share of fossil energy sources will account for more than 70% of our countries’ energy balance,” he said.
“I invite our BRICS partners to participate in the implementation of joint oil and gas projects in the Arctic. We are already cooperating with non-Arctic states such as Japan, China and France,” the Russian minister added. He also stressed that Arctic hydrocarbons have a significant competitive advantage due to the convenience of the Northern Sea Route as the shortest sea route to bring Arctic hydrocarbons to consumers. For reference, four out of eight new liquefaction plants planned in Russia in the foreseeable future will be located in the Arctic (Obsky LNG, Arctic LNG, Arctic LNG 2 and Arctic LNG 3); two will be built in the Russian Far East (Far East LNG and Vladivostok LNG); and another two on the Baltic Sea coast (Baltic Chemical Complex and LNG Portovaya). The largest of these projects will be concentrated in the Arctic.