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7 Russian oil and gas projects to watch in 2017

Despite its shaky economic performance over the past two years, Russia is pushing ahead with a wealth of multi-billion dollar oil and gas projects. Featuring pan-Baltic pipelines, enhanced oil and gas trading platforms, and massive transportation deals, Russia’s energy ambitions are not to be ignored.


Sometimes controversial, but always attention-commanding, here is a cross-section of Russian oil and gas projects to monitor in 2017.


European Russian oil & gas projects

Nord Stream 2

Cost: $11 billion

Timeframe: 2016-2019


Germany, which already sources 38% of its natural gas supplies from Russia, is stepping up its demand. The solution, according to Russia, is to build a brand new pipeline to boost supplies to Europe while bypassing Ukraine.

Gazprom’s $11 billion project will pump liquid natural gas from Vyborg in Russia to a terminal in Greifswald on Germany’s northern coast – an undersea journey of some 1,200 kilometres. At peak production, Nord Stream 2 will deliver an annual total of 55 billion cubic metres of gas to Europe.

Despite the controversial nature of this project, earning condemnation from US and Polish government officials, Gazprom is determined to push ahead. October 2016 saw delivery of the project’s first pipes, including units from Germany’s Europipe GmBH in preparation for 2019’s first gas deliveries.

A collection of international partners, including the Shell, French company Engie and Austria’s OMV AG, have been involved in Nord Stream 2 since its inception. Reports of crucial partners withdrawing under Polish pressure have been circulated. However, Nord Stream 2’s partners met in St. Petersburg in October 2016 to reaffirm their support for the pipeline.

Whatever the view of international commentators, Gazprom and Nord Stream 2 are more determined than ever to push on with Nord Stream 2’s construction.


LNG hub in St. Petersburg

Cost: Variable

Timeframe: 2018 onwards


The Baltic Sea is already a hotbed of LNG activity. Terminals, such as Lithuania’s Klaipeda, Poland’s   Swinoujscie and a site under development in Gothenburg, Sweden, make it one of the most competitive environments in oil and gas.

Coupled with an increased demand for LNG stemming from regional ferry operators, who are employing more LNG-powered vessels in their fleets, it is easy to see why Russia wants its own piece of the Baltic action.

Russia, therefore, will also develop storage and processing facilities around St. Petersburg and the Baltic ports. LNG-Gorskaya, a Russian investment firm specialising in natural gas projects, was given the go ahead to construct a new LNG terminal at the port of St. Petersburg.

Comprised of a plant assembled on three non-self-propelled barges, gas pipeline, loading rack, jetty and three bunkering barges, LNG-Gorskaya’s proposed plan is ambitious. The company hopes to begin production, which would amount to 1.26 million tons of gas annually, in 2018.

Russia’s drive to establish itself as a major LNG player in the Baltic region will likely result in further facilities. As such, a big demand for machinery, equipment and knowhow will be emanating from the St. Petersburg region in the near future.


SPIMEX integration

Cost: N/A at the time of writing

Timeframe: Ongoing


The St. Petersburg International Mercantile Exchange was once a point of contention for international firms interested in Russian gas, thanks to opaque pricing and a lack of cooperation when it came to disclosing trading volumes.

Now, SPIMEX is opening up to the world to boost St. Petersburg’s gas hub potential – going on a charm offensive around Europe, and taking steps to make its pricing of Russian gas much more transparent for the international spot market.

September 2015 saw SPIMEX, state-owned pipeline company Transneft and Russia’s Federal Antimonopoly Service, sign an agreement to optimise exchange trading of oil and petroleum products. They will be streamlining procedures and updating SPIMEX’s electronic trading platform to make transparency a non-issue.

SPIMEX’s global integration will ensure Russia has a world-class trading platform to match its new transportation and storage infrastructure. Russian resources at Russian prices has long been a goal of the Putin administration. With SPIMEX, it looks closer than ever.


Central Russian oil & gas projects

Yamal LNG Plant

Cost: $27 Billion

Timeframe: 2016-2018


Yamal is another vital part of Russia’s LNG strategy.  With waves of international investment, including a $12 billion loan courtesy of a consortium of Chinese banks, the facility’s funding has been fully secured. Construction is now set to start in earnest.

A range of foreign companies are supplying Yamal, and main stakeholder Novatek, with vital construction components. Take Norway’s Teekay LNG Partners. The company stated in September 2016 it was supplying the Yamal development with one of its unchartered 174,000 cubic metre MEGI LNG carrier new builds on a 15-year fixed rate charter deal.

French company Technip pre-empted Teekay’s activity by outfitting the $27 billion plant with necessary technological modules. Technip had delivered all its Yamal-bound modules by the end of 2015.

Novatek, despite being hit by US sanctions just after announcing the Yamal facility’s development, is feeling confident. Its first gas lines were reported as 76% ready in September 2016. Overall construction is said to be 60% complete at the time of writing. Once operational, with first gas cargos expected in 2017, the Yamal LNG plant will produce up to 5.5 million tons of LNG annually.


Caspian exploration and transportation

Cost: N/A at the time of writing

Timeframe: Ongoing


Most Caspian production is in non-Russian acreages, so transportation is the key concern for Russia’s energy operators in the region. While some companies such as Lukoil, which announced in September 2016 it was to start producing oil at its Vladimir Fillanovsky Field development, are actively exploring the Sea, others are focusing on inking transportation deals.

Azerbaijan’s SOCAR and Russia’s Transneft, for example, signed a new oil transportation deal in February 2016. Utilising the Baku-Novorossiysk pipeline, and collecting oil from the Azeri Sangachal terminal, SOCAR will transport 1.3 million tons of oil monthly from the Caspian Sea.

Transneft has a history of activity in the Caspian region. Since 2008, it has held a 31% share of the Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC) – making Transneft the group’s majority shareholder. Not just a consortium, the CPC is also a vital pipeline linking the Caspian Tengiz Field to Russia’s Black Sea coast.

Russia is intent on securing not only its own supply lines, but also those to Europe and beyond. Expect to see a flurry of transportation deals and negotiations underway in 2017 and beyond.



Russian Far East oil & gas projects

Sakhalin-2 gas hub

Cost: N/A at the time of writing

Timeframe: 2015 - 2021


Russia is planning to add a third production facility at the existing Sakhalin-2 plant, which currently produces 10 million tons of gas annually. Gazprom will be spearheading the project, in collaboration with Shell, plus Japan’s Mitsui and Mitsubishi. Mitsui’s CIS Managing Officer, Hiroshi Meguro, expects the site’s planned third LNG liquefaction train will add an additional 5.4 million tons of gas to the supply each year.

2015 saw the Sakhalin-2 site extract around 10.8 million tons of natural gas, alongside 5.15 million tons of oil, making it one of the world’s foremost LNG facilities. Shell, which owns a 27.5% stake in the project, has stated Sakhalin-2 supplies 4% of global LNG, with South Korea and Japan as its key markets.

Preparation for the design and front-end engineering documentation for Sakhalin-2’s expansion was nearing completion at the start of October 2016. Gazprom hopes the third train will come online in 2021. Once complete, this expansion could promote Russia’s first offshore LNG facility to the status of a world leader in natural gas production.


Power of Siberia China Pipeline

Cost: $20 billion total ($1.17 in 2016)

Timeframe: 2016-2019


A voracious energy appetite, coupled with a gigantic population, imposes some tough demands on China’s energy grid. Electricity generation in the north of the country is a particularly hot topic. Now, China hopes to draw on Siberia’s vast natural resource stores to satiate its massive energy demands.

Gazprom and the China National Petroleum Company (CNPC) signed a contract in September 2016 to build a cross-border section of the Power of Siberia pipeline, which will pass under the Amur River.  Gazprom’s Western Siberian fields will be the source for its Chinese supplies.

Such is China’s need for steady energy supplies that CNPC and Gazprom inked an agreement for Gazprom to supply 38 billion cubic metres of gas over a 30-year period. Over this period, China will purchase $400 billion worth of gas from Gazprom.

Despite this energy agreement, the Power of Siberia pipeline has endured funding woes in recent years. Gazprom slashed budgets again in February 2016. The state-owned energy monopoly will subsequently be spending $1.17 billion on the pipeline this year – less than half of 2015’s budget of $2.6 billion. Gazprom Chairman Alexei Miller, however, has stated first supplies to China will commence in 2019.


MIOGE: Your connection to Russia’s oil & gas industry


MIOGE is the largest and most recognised oil and gas trade event in Russia and Central Asia. For over 20 years, MIOGE has become the traditional meeting place for the world’ leading oil and gas companies to converge and build new business partnerships with local trade operators and suppliers. Rosneftegaz, LUKOIL and Gazprom, plus many others, have taken part in the past.

2017’s event takes place between 27-30 June at Moscow’s Crocus Expo Centre. Get in touch now to book your place early and tap into the current collaborative spirit of the Russian oil and gas sector.

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