Thursday, April 23, 2009

Russia turns increasingly beyond borders for natural gas supplies

Russia's predicted gas shortfall seems to have set in earlier than expected.
Gazprom's gas production is expected to decline to 510 billion cubic meters (bcm) in 2009 from a level of 550 bcm in 2008. Gazprom as a result may be forced to limit its exports to 170 bcm in 2009, compared to 179 bcm last year.
Russia's biggest Soviet-era gas fields are past their prime. Moscow expects that through development of giant new fields, the decline in production can be made up. The fields at Bovanenkovskoye and Yamal were expected to produce their first gas by 2011, and Shtokman by 2015. But the financial crisis in the West affects fresh investments.
As a result, Central Asia's importance as a source of cheap energy has increased for Russia. Gazprom is currently buying roughly 50 bcm of gas from Turkmenistan, 15 bcm from Kazakhstan and seven bcm from Uzbekistan. Central Asian producers accounted for about 14 percent of Gazprom's total production last year.

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