Media: Russian oil and gas companies unlikely to launch Arctic projects before 2030
© RIA Novosti. Evgeniy Odinokov

Media: Russian oil and gas companies unlikely to launch Arctic projects before 2030

Having announced a number of shelf projects that are expected to contribute to developing the Northern Sea Route, Russian oil and gas companies said they don't actually intend to start these projects any time within the next 10 years, Kommersant newspaper reported, citing industry sources and an Arctic Geological Engineering Plan until 2035 drafted by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.

The plan outlines the development of cargo volumes along the Northern Sea Route. According to the document, follow-up exploration operations at Rosneft's Pobeda and Medynskoye-More fields, at Gazprom's Leningradskoye, Ludlovskoye, Rusanovskoye and Ledovoye fields and at Gazprom Neft's Dolginskoye field are expected to begin in 2025-2030. So Kommersant suggested that these projects would not be launched before the 2030s. In addition, the document does not mention the plan by Novatek and Gapzrom Neft to establish a joint venture for shelf projects, Kommersant pointed out.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment has not responded to a request for a comment from the newspaper, while the offices of Deputy Prime Ministers Yury Trutnev and Alexei Gordeyev declined to comment. A source aware of these developments told Kommersant that the plan was submitted to the Government and is expected to be reviewed by the State Commission for Arctic Development.

Gazprom Neft representatives said the company had pushed back its obligations under its geological exploration licenses for two of the least accessible regions: the Kheisovskoye and North-Wrangel fields that are now expected to be launched in 2037. Last year, Gazprom Neft did more than it was supposed to under its license in one area, and in four other regions (Northwestern, Dolginskoye, Prirazlomnoye and North-Wrangel); the company carried out 2D and 3D seismic data acquisition and is processing the material. A Gazprom Neft representative added that offshore exploration remained a strategic priority for the company.

In addition, Gazprom Neft hopes to complete drilling in the South-Ob section. "If a deposit is discovered there, it could be launched within the next ten years," the company said. At the same time, Gazprom intends to launch three offshore extraction sites before 2030: Kamennomysskoye-More, North-Kamennomysskoye and Kruzenshternskoye, the company said through its representatives. They are located in the Gulf of Ob or belong to fields that are partly located onshore and are considered to be within inland waters rather than on the shelf.

As an operator of 28 Arctic shelf sections, Rosneft said that decisions on future shelf projects "would be made with consideration for market conditions, as well as the economic and technological situations."