RUSSIAN GAS PLANS AND A NEW REALITY

RUSSIAN GAS PLANS AND A NEW REALITY

By D.Rozanov

A year ago, almost all experts, in principle, describes the state of the global energy market by "uncertainty" and "turbulence", by the end of this year, analysts describe the situation now as "the formation of a new reality."

 

How are the contours of this reality? Thus, the hydrocarbons will remain the backbone of the global energy mix in the medium term, despite the fact that the energy policies of developed countries will be determined by the desire to reduce dependence on hydrocarbons and boost the energy efficiency of their economies. Demand for natural gas as the cleanest of the fossil fuels will continue to grow steadily. At the same time, virtually all the additional energy will be consumed in countries outside the OECD, and the developed countries of Europe and Asia, according to some forecasts, the gas consumption will peak. Developing countries have 85% of the growth in gas demand. Slower growth in demand for energy in China is compensated by the rise in India. And China and India will have about 30% growth, and the Middle East - over 20%. Also, all major institutions agree on increasing the share of LNG in the world gas trade: up to 53%, according to other estimates - up to 60%. By 2035, LNG imports will overtake pipeline gas as the main form of marketable gas. Significantly increase competition among producers. With regard to such an important price forecast, the 2040 is not projected to recover in gas prices to the level of 2012-2014.

 

What the Russian gas industry is part of this reality? With declining demand for gas on the domestic market (458.4 billion cubic meters in 2014, 444.3 -. Last year, the forecast for 2016 - 438 billion cubic meters.) And energy-saving potential is not less than a third of today's consumer. Main production decline steadily going on in the industry's largest companies - "Gazprom". Its share in the total production dropped to 62%, while the share of the domestic market - up to 55%, while it remains a major supplier to the consumer.

 

The following characteristics - reduction of gas export revenues. While the physically export to the European market in the past year is growing steadily (181.1 billion cubic meters in 2014, 192.5 -. Last year, the forecast for this year -. 201.4 billion cubic meters), the income from he drops significantly: according to Russia's balance of payments in January-September this year, they fell by 31.6% against the same period last year - to $ 21.4 billion.

 

Russia has made some progress in terms of implementation of new pipeline projects, but the results are different in the LNG sector. Of all the announced projects successfully moving only Yamal LNG, secure access to investment resources across China. external technological and investment restrictions adversely affect the sector. Investment opportunities of the companies are also limited, and the reason for it - the low world prices for hydrocarbons. Long-term investment restrictions and reduced profits from the export of "Gazprom" may adversely affect the entire industry, especially in the development of capacities and modernization of the Unified Gas Supply System.

 

The key question, which is raised now and the specialists of the industry itself, and experts, and economists: whether gas industry and, more generally, ECPs still play a role as a key support of the Russian economy and that we can and need to do so that they coped with this role, keeping and its sustainable development?

 

The latest version of Energy Strategy 2035 (and is not approved for this year) demonstrates optimism and suggests that the Russian gas industry will overcome the current recession, will increase the production of natural and associated gas in the 1.2-1.4 times by 2035. As a means of overcoming the recession offers export diversification and development of the internal gas market.

 

But in view of the "new reality" of gas export will be the same source of income for the Russian economy, as it was in the first decade of the XXI century. The globalization of the gas market, increased competition, lower prices for hydrocarbons, stagnating demand in Europe, growth in the sector of LNG, the most sought just in Asia, and not only (and not so much) in China, restrictions that prevent Russia is now quickly deploy infrastructure and strengthen its expansion in this area, - only part of the factors indicative of the fact that Russia, while maintaining the position of the largest gas exporter, will not be able to subsidize its economy due to this. By 2040, the contribution of energy exports in GDP as a whole will decrease by half (from 15% in 2015 to 6-7%), about half (from 56% to 22-29%, according to different scenarios) will decrease and the share of energy resources in general revenues from exports.

 

The current structure has already generated a number of dangerous imbalances that carry a potential threat to the sustainable development of the industry. The first of them - a disproportion between production capacities and demand perspective. According to "Gazprom" estimates, only the additional annual production capacity now stands at over 100 billion cubic meters. m.

 

No less dangerous price disparity. Gas prices in Russia - the lowest in the world, with the availability of gas as a resource is limited to poor infrastructure. Of all the branches of fuel and energy only in the gas industry regulated pricing is still present, but the state prices in general are not able to provide a reasonable return on gas sales on the domestic market. Therefore, to "Gazprom" can not be a source of transmission infrastructure development, including the implementation of gasification programs.

 

Today in the Russian gas industry has developed a unique situation when there is a competition of gas producers, confidently picking up the last few years, a stable excess of supply over demand, and it is running exchange trading mechanisms, and the wholesale price of gas in Russia has reached the threshold of the so-called equal profitability with deliveries of gas for export.

 

Expert discussion recently show that the industry itself, and it is responsible for the authorities is still difficult to stop looking at energy exports as the key to a brighter future of the branch and the source of funds for the economy as a whole. We need a paradigm shift of development of the gas industry in favor of the development of the internal market, increased use of gas, its deep processing. Such plans have already implemented.

 

 

19.12.2016

 

 

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