Moscow — Russia expects to send up to 30% of its crude oil exports to Asia as soon as 2020 and has accelerated work on diversifying its markets away from the west, with production in eastern regions expected to see a significant boost in the next few years, energy minister Alexander Novak said Friday.
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Russia's East Siberia and Far East are mainly underexplored but, based on data from discovered fields, crude production in the area was estimated to grow to 118 million mt in 2035, up from 58 million in 2014, said Novak, speaking at the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok.
Gas production was estimated at 135 Bcm in 2035, from 41 Bcm last year, with coal production seen rising to 130 million mt from 85 million mt.
"Even at present, nearly all increases in liquids production in Russia is secured by fields in East Siberia and the Far East," Novak said, adding the area has the most potential for major oil and gas discoveries, compared with other Russian regions.
Regarding output prospects, crude production will grow rapidly in the next few years, with the region's share of Russia's output expected to increase to 19% by 2020 from 11% now, while the main growth in gas production was expected after 2020, to amount to around 15% of national output, he said.
The high growth in hydrocarbons production in eastern Russia was expected to run alongside steady growth in energy consumption in Asian markets, making them the natural target for future crude and gas exports.
With the advantage of geographical proximity, Russia aims to send up to 36-39% of its total energy resources to the Asia-Pacific region by 2035, boosting them nearly threefold from current levels, Novak said.
The energy ministry has estimated crude production to remain steady around 525 million mt/year though 2020, as production from greenfields compensates for natural decline in old oil provinces, such as West Siberia.
Crude production in 2014 totaled 526.75 million mt (or an average 10.58 million b/d, converted at a 7.33 factor), up 0.7% year on year, and continued the trend through this year.
Exports to non-CIS counties totaled 199.1 million mt last year, down 3.7% as more crude was directed to domestic refineries. This year, however, exports are growing after tax changes significantly weakened refining margins, making exports more attractive.
Exports last year included around 25 million mt of ESPO crude sent via the Pacific port of Kozmino, up 17%, with the bulk sold on spot markets in the Asian region.
In addition, Rosneft sends around 15 million mt/year to CNPC via an ESPO pipeline offshoot to China's Mohe, with deliveries of an extra few million tons via Kazakhstan.