Minister Novak: “The Arctic is Russia’s strategic potential”

Russian Minister of Energy Alexander Novak described the Arctic as Russia’s strategic potential and the future of oil and gas production in an interview with the RT television channel.

“Today [the Arctic] is home to enormous reserves of hydrocarbons that are estimated at billion tonnes of oil and tens of trillion cubic metres of gas”, Novak said.

Oil production in this region reached 90 million tonnes over the last year, the minister said. This makes up 17% of the country’s total production. In addition, 500 billion cubic metres of gas were produced in the Arctic, or 80% of the country’s total output.

Novak noted that the Yamal LNG plant is expected to start operations in 2017 with the first phase poised to produce 5.5 million tonnes.

The energy minister noted that operations were launched earlier at the Bovanenkovskoye oil and gas field. Rosneft and LUKOIL are developing this field along with other ones. Novak said there are roughly 19 open fields in the region.

With global hydrocarbon prices declining, development activities are “much lower”, however the energy development strategy provides for more active exploration, drilling, and commissioning of fields if the international situation improves, he said.

“I would like to repeat it once again: the Arctic is the future of our oil and gas production”, Novak concluded.