Monday, 5 November 2007

Russia - Can it produce and export oil that Europe needs?

The above image is from Jeff Rubin's (CIBC) October 2007 presentation OPEC's Growing Call on itself (PDF). So, clearly not everybody agree that Russian can export oil that the world is expecting it to.

In addition to the above, this news which has been circulating for 2 years now:

Russian oil output could peak .... in 2010..... Russian Industry and Energy Minister Victor Khristenko said.
The reinstated this October in International Herald Tribune:
The oil and gas fields feeding this bonanza are running dry. Russian gas output has leveled off; oil production is expected to peak by 2010. Russia has more gas and oil, but its energy sector has to make the right decisions now to tap new fields. Western energy companies, whose capital and know-how will be essential to sustain Russian oil and gas production, have felt distinctly unwelcome in Putin's Russia.
Coincidentally, Rosneft is also renegotiating their deal with China after 2010:
State-controlled Rosneft (ROSN.MM: Quote, Profile, Research), Russia's largest oil firm, said on Tuesday it will not renew its existing crude oil supply contract to China after 2010 unless China offers better terms.
There has also been discussion about overstated reserves with Russian OilCos.
Mitvol was visiting analysts with several banks in the United States who hold investments in companies operating in Russia, warning them about the dubious reserve accounting methods.
Then again, there's been discussion about Russia capping it's production voluntarily. High prices really is good for Russia (and esp. Putin's cabal):
So Russia may be about to cap its oil production just when the global community is looking for it to produce more oil. Of course, that is the global community's problem, not Russia's.
As for actual export data, exports did fell in 2006 2.4% according to Prime-Tass news agency (article not available on web anymore). Rian reported a 1% fall y-2-y for 2006 exports for Russia.

However, according to Alexander's Gas & Oil Connections, Russia's 1-8/2007 oil exports grew by 4.75% compared to year earlier.

So, for now, Russian exports of oil are still growing. However, if they start to decline soon, it'll be interesting to read the analyses as to whether this will be involuntary (i.e. geology of peaking) or voluntary, in order to support Putin's goal of doubling GDP by 2010 - a goal which Russia is unlikely to meet.