Russia sees closer energy ties with Asia

Posted on 16 October 2013

Forces transforming the energy industry are full of opportunities and challenges for Russia, according to senior officials who spoke at the Daegu 2013 Congress on 16 October.

Alexander Novak, Russian Minister of Energy, said “We have lots of natural gas and we don’t see a necessity in producing shale gas,” but added that “We’ll look for a few years at what happens in the United States,” and “It’s good to have the technology in case we need it.”

Ivan Grachev, Chairman of the Committee for Energy of the Russian State Duma, said “There can be no cheap shale gas … I’m certain that shale gas will not make a major effect on [global] energy markets.” Noting that US water protection laws had to be significantly changed to accommodate shale gas drilling there, Grachev added, among shale gas boosters, “hardly anyone looks at the environmental impact of shale gas.”

The Russian officials also saw expanding Russian energy ties to Asia, particularly South Korea and China. “1.2 billion people in the world don’t have access to electric power,” Novak said –  and half of those live in Asia. “Russia has very good capacity in exporting energy” – where it is the world’s leading gas exporter and tied with Saudi Arabia when it comes to oil exports. It is also the world’s third-largest exporter of coal after Australia and Indonesia.

Evgeny Dod, Chairman of RusHydro, said his company was cooperating with Korea on tidal power and wave power projects, which is “emblematic of international energy cooperation.” Natalia Salaeva, Sakhalin’s Minister of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection, said that the Korean market accounts for a major share of the island’s energy exports, including buying 58% of oil exports in 2012.

Oleg Budargin, Director General of Russian Grids, said “If a connection is established with Chinese companies and Korean companies, we could become a state-of-the-art bridge of huge volumes of power across our territory.” “We’ve been talking with Korea about a transmission line from Vladivostok to Seoul. There’s a possibility of laying a cable down the seabed. Political will is necessary, first and foremost,” he added.

 

This news story is based on the session Regional Crossroads, “Focus Russia: Key policy innovations and international cooperation in a transformed energy world”, at the 2013 World Energy Congress.