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  • Whither Russia?


    Dr. William J. Pike

    The coming year will likely be a crucial one for the Russian oil and gas industry. Most analysts believe, based on current operations, that Russian oil production will remain stagnant for the short-to-medium term. At rates of more than 10 million bopd, that might not be a bad thing for most countries. But internal demand in Russia is rising, resulting in less oil to export. For a country that derives 35% of its income from oil and gas (without which, the country would run a 10% budget deficit), the consequences of decreased export capacity could be serious. Solutions-—really good ones—are available. The problem is not a lack of potential but, rather, political uncertainty and uncertainty in the global market place. Resources. Russian reserves are impressive. Take the Bazhenov oil shale in Western Siberia, for example. According to Sanford Bernstein’s lead oil analyst, Oswald Clint, the play covers 570 million acres, an area the size of Texas and the Gulf of Mexico, and 80 times bigger than the prolific Bakken play in the U.S. The Bazhenov pay zone averages over 100 ft thick and has been a source rock for Siberian fields in production for decades. A large pipeline and processing infrastructure is in place.

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