Siberian Gas and Future Directions in the Asian and EU Markets

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This chapter presents my preliminary research findings into the development of the Russian Far East (RFE) gas fields, and its likely impact on European Union (EU) energy security. Exports from the RFE are destined largely for North East Asian markets. This chapter is divided into two sections. The first looks at the current state of development in the RFE while the second examines potential and actual customers for these projects in the Asia markets, and weighs up various supply and demand issues. The issue at stake for Europe is the likelihood (or otherwise) of the Asian market replacing the EU market in terms of revenue importance for Russia. These findings are directly applicable to the overall energy security of the EU, which currently depends on Russia for a large percentage of its natural gas supplies. Russia is its single largest energy supplier, and developments which may affect the market interaction between the EU and Russia are of great importance. At the same time, these issues should be closely watched by Australian LNG (liquefied natural gas) producers. Australia stands both to lose in the Asian markets – from increased Russian competition – and to gain in the European markets, through picking up Russia's current market-share.

This section will examine the potential of gas production in Russia's Far East, taking into account the peculiarities of Russia and the region. Western Russia contains Russia's most established gas fields. However, there is huge untapped potential for gas production in Russia's Far East, and the country is currently in the process of exploiting the petroleum resources in the region. There are significant hurdles to eastern gas production and export, however, including: the remote geographical location; local demand for natural gas; and the Russian political and legal environment. The closest markets for gas include China, Japan and South Korea. The concept of exporting Russian gas to Asia is quite established, and dates back to the 1960s. Various political, commercial and institutional obstacles have impeded progress however, and it is only in the last ten years that exports have come on stream. This section will look at the general hurdles faced by producers in the region, the next section will look at the specifics of the various current and planned Far Eastern projects, and the following section will cover potential markets for Far Eastern gas.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2011

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  • Energy and the Environmental Challenge
    Bringing together eminent Australian, European and Russian experts and practitioners, this volume makes an important contribution to the crucial debates on climate change and energy that will have a profound impact on all our futures. The problems faced by business, scientists, NGOs, policymakers and researchers are multifaceted and complex in nature, so a comprehensive treatment of the subject is best undertaken by a diverse and multi-skilled group. The authors explore different approaches and experiences in securing sustainable energy supplies in Europe and Australia, while heeding the interplay between public policy, science, business and environmental groups. On the threshold of an era of carbon taxing and energy thrift, the views of the authors on the future evolution of our relationship with energy are as insightful as they are thought-provoking.
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