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Russian Arctic resources
by Staff Writers
Moscow, Russia (Voice of Russia) Aug 30, 2012

File image.

The Arctic Region is often referred to as the "resource depository" of the future. Deemed as a strategically important region, the Arctic boasts a variety of natural riches, including minerals, oil and gas, forests, and biological and recreational resources.

At present, plans for the exploration of the Arctic focus on the production of oil and gas as the region is deemed to become one of the major resource supply bases in the near future. A large number of Russian and foreign experts underscore the importance of creating relevant infrastructure, restoring transport routes, and expanding international cooperation with a view to gain access to oil and gas reserves in the Arctic. Energy issues top Russia's Arctic development agenda.

1.Oil and gas resources

The Yamal-Nenets Autonomous District is Russia's major gas-producing region which supplies 85% of Russian natural gas and accounts for 20% of natural gas supply throughout the world. 66 of the district's 234 deposits are currently under commercial development. Yamal's gas reserves are now estimated at 16 trillion cubic meters, while Russia is currently producing about 650 billion cubic meters a year.

Yamal's hypothetical and forecasted reserves are estimated at about 22 trillion cubic meters. Condensate reserves are estimated at 230 mln tons, oil reserves - at 292 mln tons.

The reserves of the Timan-Pechora Oil and Gas bearing Basin which is located on the territory of the Nenets Autonomous District amount to several billion tons of standard fuel. All explored gas reserves are concentrated on five gas fields, the Layavozhskoye field being the largest. The oil reserves of the Nenets Autonomous District can match those of Norway, which holds top positions among other oil-rich countries of Western Europe.

The District's gas deposits which account for 11% of gas reserves of Western Europe are equal to those of India and exceed those of Denmark and Germany combined. The Timan-Pechora Basin constitutes one oil and gas super region with the Barents shelf.

The Arctic Continental Shelf incorporates a range of oil and gas bearing areas that boast a large number of the so-called 'giant deposits' where the bulk of estimated reserves are amassed. Most expected oil and gas reserves are clustered in the Russian sector of the Arctic.

According to estimates, about 50 billion tons of oil and 80 trillion cubic meters of natural gas which are thought to lie in the Russian sector of the Arctic are enough to maintain the 2011 oil production level for 100 years and the corresponding gas output level for 120 years.

The Barents and Kara Seas in Western Arctic account for the largest share of oil and gas reserves of the Russian Arctic shelf. Oil and gas deposits of the Barents and Kara shelf are seen as Russia's strategic oil and gas reserves of the future.

At present, Russia deems oil and gas production on the Arctic continental shelf as a major direction for the development of its fuel and energy complex and the main prerequisite for the development of Russia's northern territories. Russia relies on cutting-edge, cost-effective and environmentally safe technologies which are bound to secure its top positions in the development of oil and gas resources on the Arctic shelf.

2.Mining complex

The mining complex is number two in the economic structure of the Russian Arctic. The world's largest apatite deposit was discovered on the Kola Peninsula in the 1920s. Exploration and development of copper-nickel ore reserves in the north of the Krasnoyarsk Region led to the creation of a large mining complex in Norilsk.

The Arctic macro region accounts for a considerable share of Russian diamonds, 100% of stibium, apatite, phlogopite, vermiculite, barium sulphate, and rare-earth metals; more than 95% of platinum group metals, more than 90% of nickel and cobalt, and 60% of copper. The tin bearing potential of the Russian Arctic shelf is comparable to the potential of the world's largest tin bearing provinces, while platinoids produced in the Russian sector of the Arctic satisfy about 70% of the global demand for palladium and more than 20% of platinum.

The known reserves and the estimated resources of open fields and partially explored deposits fully meet Russia's domestic demand and can guarantee export of platinum over the next 100 years. A number of large coal basins is yet another important feature of the Russian sector of the Arctic.

3.Fishing complex

In addition to mineral resources, the Russian Arctic is home to significant biological resources. Arctic fisheries guarantee up to 15% of the fishing and production of sea food in Russia. Being renewable, these resources are particularly valuable. The Barents Sea and the Bering Sea abound in fish and marine resources, especially cod species and seafloor resources.

Abundance of natural resources gives the Russian Arctic a clear edge over competitors and is the main drive behind Russia's efforts to step up its exploration of the Arctic. The unique resource potential of the Russian Arctic strengthens Russia's geopolitical positions all over the world, contributes to Russia's integration in the global economy and paves the way to further progressive development of national economy.

Source: Voice of Russia


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