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Russia ramps up gas exploration in Far East to boost supplies to Asia – minister

Deposits geographically closer to Asian markets are a priority, natural resources minister says

Russia plans to boost geological exploration for hydrocarbons, including natural gas, in the Far East, as it seeks to reorient energy exports from Europe to Asia amid Western sanctions, Natural Resources and Environment Minister Alexander Kozlov said on Tuesday.

In an interview with Rossiya 24 TV channel, Kozlov stressed that boosting energy trade with Asia, and China in particular, would guarantee Russia has a reliable market for its oil and gas.

We have set a priority for ourselves in geological prospecting and exploration and in aiding the search for mineral resources, particularly hydrocarbons, to be geographically closer to future consumers and transport infrastructure. For example, the Power of Siberia pipeline, gas from which goes to China. We have made the decision to carry out geological exploration throughout Yakutia…so that there’s not [just] one, but more pipelines going in the eastern direction. Because this is guaranteed revenue for our country, guaranteed sales to a major partner,” Kozlov said.

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Currently, Russia has only one pipeline through which gas is being delivered from eastern Siberia to China, the Power of Siberia. However, Russian energy major Gazprom has been working on a second pipeline, the Power of Siberia 2, since 2020. The conduit is designed to link Russian gas fields with China via Mongolia, and its construction is scheduled to start in 2024.

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According to the Ministry of Natural Resources, reorienting domestic oil and gas trade to countries that have not joined Ukraine-related sanctions against Russia will lead to a surge of investment in the development of mineral resource centers close to friendly markets. However, the ministry points out that sanctions have made the process difficult.

Sanctions restrictions have affected, among other things, exploration equipment. They had a particularly tangible effect on offshore projects. Subsoil users are currently looking for a solution to these problems, both by purchasing [equipment] from friendly countries and by developing their own at Russian production facilities. However, the adjustment and stabilization of production capacities and import chains is not a matter of one year,” the ministry warned, as cited by Interfax news agency.

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December 28, 2022 at 03:43PM
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