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The issue of energy security of Russia
Material posted: -Publication date: 30-10-2009

In 2003, the author on the basis of methods of mathematical modeling has estimated the possible timing of the completion of explored reserves of easily accessible oil and gas in the world and in Russia.

The results of these calculations are presented in table 1.

Table 1

The data in the first line - the years of graduation resources. The figures characterize the situation, "average", around the world, when as exhaustion of energy resources to the remaining all countries receive the same access. In table 1 the reference numerals in parentheses indicate the levels of production prior to exhaustion of known reserves. The unit of measure for oil and coal billion tons and for gas - trillion. m3.

Simulations assumed that the world's proven reserves, the most important nonrenewable energy source - the oil is about 140-165 billion tons. Their distribution by region is presented in table 2.

Table 2

It should be noted that often there is a significant (about 2 times) overestimation of official figures on oil reserves in relation to actually existing. An indirect confirmation of this is the relatively high activity of different countries to get control over Arctic hydrocarbon reserves, despite the high complexity of their development and production. The same can be said for biofuels if oil is okay, then why produce biofuels at the expense of agricultural production, which is so lacking?

The dates for the end energy is taken into account that after consuming the oil and gas sector will have additional energy load. Similarly, after gas, all the energy would have to produce by burning stone, and then brown coal.

Data in the second line belong to Russia. It is evident that at the present rate of extraction of oil reserves could be depleted as early as 2016, but other types of energy have the ability to survive significantly longer than other countries.

The exhaustion of oil and gas significantly aggravated environmental problems. Data on the relative increase of the total mass of emissions of environmentally harmful substances, also calculated using the above model, are shown in table 3.

It can be seen that in 2030 may reduce emissions of some harmful substances at the expense of reorientation energy in the gas, which is environmentally friendly type of fuel. But in 2041, after the transition to coal dust emissions into the atmosphere will increase by approximately 6.3 times, carbon monoxide and sulphur dioxide - about 7.5 times.

Table 3

The greatest amount of air pollution will be using brown coal. The emissions will increase by 7-15 times in comparison with existing ones. In short, if in the 21st century trends and patterns of energy consumption will not change, in the 50-60-ies of the possible global environmental disaster.

In recent years the situation has not improved. Exploration is stagnating. The Deputy Minister of natural resources Alexei Varlamov said recently that the known uranium reserves in Russia will last until 2017, oil - up to 2022, gas and coal to 2025.

In detail it is difficult to imagine the magnitude of the economic and social upheavals that we can expect in 10 years. A possible scenario we're trying to describe earlier, but most likely, everything will be much more dramatic. In principle, it was possible to strain and try to rectify the situation by creating, for example, fusion power and new types of combined nuclear energy systems. We need to establish a new industry, change the education system. We need skilled workers and engineers, and not thieving executives. But, given the results over the past 10 years, most likely nothing will happen: one, the strengthening of the power vertical will not be enough.

In Russia there is no reason to expect the discovery of new large reserves of oil. According to foreign auditors, now they make up 5-6% of the world. The situation is exacerbated by irrational tactics and technology of oil production and refining. For example, the amount of gasoline produced in Russia during the processing of 1 ton of oil, is 160 litres, while in Western Europe - 400 liters, in USA - 480 liters.

Optimists (who are mostly representatives of the oil and gas companies) said that the situation is not so dramatic - there are large so-called "probable reserves" of energy resources, whose development can move into the distant future the onset of the energy crisis. Really forecasted resources exist, but these stocks in terms of profitability is significantly inferior to existing. In Fig. 1 shows comparative costs of oil extraction and oil field development. In the new fields, the cost of extracting oil is much higher than in the countries of the Middle East and at existing Russian oil fields. For example, for the widely advertised bituminoznykh Sands of Canada, the cost of extraction is about 7 times higher than from fields of Saudi Arabia. Therefore, we can say that the time of easy oil is over.

Fig. 1

Moreover, these reserves can be in hard to reach places (on the shelf, in the areas of "permafrost"), where their extraction would be energetically unprofitable. And here even not in the money business, and in the energy balance. After the 2nd world war, the amount of energy for oil production was about 50 times less than the amount of energy obtained from its combustion; in the mid-80s - only 5-8 times in the near future, this ratio is projected at 1. So, soon, oil will become energetically unprofitable at any price in the world markets. But currently there has been a significant increase in capital costs in oil production (Fig. 2).

Source: "Expert" № 9 2009
Fig. 2

As if in confirmation of this forecast in the last annual review, Statistical Review of World Energy, prepared by British oil company BP reported that for the first time in 10 years the world's proven oil reserves in 2008 fell. By the beginning of 2009 their volume by the end of the year decreased by 3 billion barrels. (420 million tons) compared to the end of 2007 to 1,258 trillion. Barr. (175 billion tonnes). If current level of consumption to 83.3 million barrels. daily or annually 30,405 billion barrels. (4.2 billion tons) these reserves are exhausted for 41.5 years. The greatest reduction in reserves recorded in Russia, Norway and China. Russian reserves fell from 80.4 billion barrels. to 79 billion. This reduction is largely connected with the low activity of oil companies in the exploration plan. Only in recent years Russian companies started to work for the future, existing investments in exploration were insufficient.

The fastest-growing stocks in Vietnam, India and Egypt, but they could not offset the downturn in other countries. Nowadays old oil fields are being depleted and access to new is becoming increasingly difficult.

A recent report by Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. it was noted that for the last 6 years one of the leading oil companies could not replenish stocks due to the expansion of the producing fields or exploration of new ones. To increase their reserves they preferred to buy smaller companies.

When did the current financial crisis, it was frozen oil projects worth $260 billion, in particular due to the fact that at low oil prices, they have become unprofitable. The old field continued to dwindle, new not developed. And now the oil industry needs to think about exit from the crisis, to invest in exploration, especially of oil began to rise. Otherwise, the oil industry may not be able to "accelerate", and in the coming years the world will face a shortage of hydrocarbons.

As noted above, such forecasts oil companies should be treated critically. Really, why the level of oil consumption is assumed constant? The number of people on Earth doubled every 60 years, at roughly the same pace needs to grow and consumption levels. Therefore, in our opinion, the estimated date of the end of oil must enter a factor of 1.5.

In addition, these General reserves probably enabled the canadian tar Sands; therefore, if you focus only on easily accessible oil, we need to introduce a factor 1.1.

After these amendments, the period of exhaustion of world reserves of 41.5/(1,5?1,1) = 25 years. Ie received by 2033, about the same number are listed in table. 1.

A possible solution to the energy problem is to use more, cheaper energy. One of the most important alternative to hydrocarbons and coal sources of energy is nuclear energy. Within a few decades nuclear power station can be the main source of energy is another, equally ambitious. Therefore, their number should increase, despite the protests of "green" and "chiseling".

But today Russia sells US weapons-grade uranium: from the alleged sale of 500 tons has already sold about 150 tons. The energy equivalent of 1 ton of enriched uranium corresponds to about 2 million tons of oil. Therefore, from the point of view of energy intensity sell 500 tons of weapons-grade uranium is a sale of 1 billion tons of oil. In the event of a future energy crisis when the domestic annual oil consumption in the 160-200 million tons of Russia, leaving this uranium, could get a break for 5-6 years and find a way out of their difficult situation.

The most optimistic is the situation with Russian natural gas reserves. Estimated value of proved reserves is about 48 trillion. cubic meters, i.e. approximately 32-35% of the world. Energy 1000 cubic meters of natural gas is equal to 0.86 tons of oil. Therefore, 48 trillion. cubic meters of gas corresponds to 41.1 million tons of oil. It's more than the proven oil reserves of Saudi Arabia, which takes him first place in the world.

But be aware that the use of natural gas, especially in transport and in the Armed Forces, technically more complex than petroleum products. But you should still try to maximize the benefit from this position. And not only increasing sales to other countries, but also providing gas to residents of their country. Today, only 53% of Russian citizens have the opportunity to use natural gas from the highways. This is considerably lower than in other countries, e.g., Belarus (90%).

In our view, it is also advisable to pay more attention and tactical issues. For example, the choice of rational methods of gas transportation. Perhaps there are political reasons for the establishment of new gas pipelines laid on the seabed, but from an economic point of view sometimes, especially with long anticipated offshore section of the pipeline, it is advisable to go for production and supply of liquefied natural gas. In this case you will see the option to change the volumes and directions of deliveries and a more flexible response to possible consumers, not to mention the reduction in complaints from countries of transit of Russian gas.

In General, in the Russian fuel and energy complex critical situation that is not realized by all. Russia is still suffering the illusion of their own infinite energy opportunities, income from resource extraction is very unevenly distributed. This makes impossible the realization of national investment projects to achieve acceptable efficiency of the energy sector of the economy.

Energy problems in Russia can begin from 2015-2020 By that time the Russian oil will end, and the gas on the external market will not be fully relevant.

After 2030-2040, perhaps the problem is somewhat softened - Europe will need large supplies of Russian gas first and then coal. But we must bear in mind that then the end time of all Russian energy resources can be significantly reduced compared with 2135 g

Known to the forecasts of foreign analysts in General do not contradict these results.

Professor Ivanhoe consultant to the U.S. government and major oil companies for the assessment of oil resources of the main basins - believes that global oil demand will exceed world production until 2010, thereafter the rate of extraction will start to decrease.

Dr. M. king Hubbert - for 58 years, from 1965 to 2023 mankind will consume 80% of world oil reserves. This is the period of the highest peak of human civilization according to Hubbert.

Thus, even when a successful solution of all problems with the current financial and economic crisis, the creation of a new reserve currency or multi-currency baskets, new financial architecture, in 2020-2030 may have a serious systemic crisis associated with the exhaustion of explored energy resources.

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