No. 2, 2010

Prof. Andrey Korzhubaev, Dr.Sc.


Tapping the hydrocarbon reserves of Eastern Siberia and the Far East is linked to that of Russias transport and refining infrastructure

One of the main priorities in the development of the oil and gas complex of Russia in the 21st century consists in the formation of new production and refining industry centers in Eastern Siberia and the Far East, expansion of the pipeline system, and organization of commercially viable supplies of hydrocarbon fuel and its refining products to the Pacific Region market.

Considerable resources

Over 54 trillion m3 or about 21% of the initial total in place resources of natural gas in Russia are concentrated in Eastern Siberia and in the Far East, of which discovered reserves constitute 4.9 trillion m3 (10%). The degree of exploration of the natural gas in Eastern Siberia and in the Far East is 8.6% and 11.3 % respectively, this being indicative of the high prospects for new discoveries.

Given favorable marketing and investment conditions, the total production of gas (dry power gas and wet gas containing 2-4) in the process of development of both gas and oil fields in Eastern Siberia and in the Far East might, by 2015, amount to 55 billion m3, by 2020 - to 158 billion m3, and by 2030 - might exceed 230 billion m3.

In the near and medium-term future, gas production in Eastern Siberia and in the Far East will be developed on the basis of the Chayandinskoye oil and gas condensate fields in the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), the Kovyktinskoye and Chikanskoye gas condensate fields in the Irkutsk Region, the Yurubcheno-Tokhomskoye and Sobinskoye fields and those located in the vicinity of the gas pipelines in the Krasnoyarsk Territory (Evenkiiskiy District), as well as the Sakhalin 1-3 projects.

In the long-term future, after 2020, forecast fields in the vicinity of the foremost gas production centers and the gas pipelines of the Lena-Tungus and Khatanga-Vilyuisk provinces will be commissioned, the Sakhalin 4-9 projects will be implemented and the Western Kamchatka shelf developed.

The target indicators can be achieved only given more active geological exploration work, above all on the shelf of the seas in the Far East (particularly the Sea of Okhotsk, where a substantial increase in reserves is anticipated within the scope of the Sakhalin 3-9 projects). For the purposes of providing for efficient gas production in Eastern Siberia and in the Far East, the government is planning: creation of an effective gas transportation infrastructure for delivering gas to the domestic market and diversification of exports; building up capacities for liquefication of natural gas for its delivery to the Pacific market; development of the gas refining and gas chemical industries in order to increase the utilization level of associated petroleum gas and valuable components of hydrocarbons, including helium; faster growth of the demand for natural gas on the domestic market; provision for solvent demand (in terms of price and volume) on the part of the Asia-Pacific Region countries.

The pipeline gambit

The priority gas transportation project in the East of Russia is construction of the Khabarovsk-Vladivostok pipeline, planned for 2009-2011. At the first stage (up to 2011) , the capacity of the gas pipeline will amount to about 27.5 billion m3 a year while, by 2025, it might be brought up to 100-120 billion m3.

In 2009-2011, within the scope of gasification of the Irkutsk Region, a gas pipeline will be built from the Chikanskoye field, through Sayansk and Angarsk, to Irkutsk. The capacity of its first section will be about 5.3 billion m3, which will be later raised to 24 billion m3, and on subsequent sections (from Sayansk onwards), the initial through capacity will be 3 billion m3. The gas pipeline will eventually extend to approximately 645 km in length.

A major gas pipeline is to be built from Sayansk to Proskokovo, the timeline for this project being 2012-2015. The pipeline will have a capacity of over 20 billion m3 of gas coming primarily from the Kovyktinskoye gas condensate field.

In 2015, a gas pipeline with a through capacity of 20-25 billion m3 needs to be built between the Kovyktinskoye and Chikanskoye fields.

2013-2016 will see the Chayandinskoye-Khabarovsk-Vladivostok gas pipeline extended. The initial capacity of the pipeline will be about 36 billion m3, with a possibility to raise it to 64 billion m3 later.

Once the Yakutsk gas production centre is connected to the gas transportation infrastructure of the Far East, it will be the turn of the fields in the Irkutsk Region. The construction of a major gas pipeline with a capacity of about 28 billion m3 between the Kovyktinskoye and Chayandinskoye fields is planned between 2016 and 2018.

At the same time, the gas pipeline from the Chayandinskoye field via Khabarovsk to Vladivostok needs to have its capacity raised to 64 billion m3. Most of the gas from Kovykta will be exported, above all to China and Korea.

In the Krasnoyarsk Territory, the intention is to build a pipeline from the Yurubcheno-Tokhomskaya zone through Boguchany to Nizhnyaya Poima and to connect it to the Sayansk-Proskokovo section. The construction is scheduled for 2013-2015 and the capacity of the pipeline on the Yurubcheno-Tokhomskaya zone - Boguchany section will be about 10 billion m3 a year.

In 2015-2016, the Sobinskoye - Boguchany gas pipeline from the Sobinsko-Paiginskaya and Agaleyevsko-Imbinskaya zone fields may be connected to the pipeline between the Yurubcheno-Tokhomskaya zone and Nizhnyaya Poima. Its through capacity between Boguchany and Nizhnyaya Poyma will reach 17.5 billion m3.

For the purpose of regulating the seasonal fluctuations in domestic gas consumption and ensuring supplies of the natural gas for export (as well as in the case of exceptional temperature jumps and accidents on the gas transportation system), a system of underground gas storage facilities is to be set up.

Gazprom specialists estimate the demand for active gas volume in underground storage facilities (without long-term reserves) for the period up to 2030 at 5.9 billion m3.

Strategically important project

The Eastern Siberia - Pacific Ocean pipeline has been designed to carry crude hydrocarbons to the Russian Far East and the markets of the Asia-Pacific region. Its planned through capacity is 80 million tons a year. It will be more than 4,770 km long, ending at a new specialized oil sea port on Kozmino Bay in the Primorsky Territory. The first stage of Eastern Siberia - Pacific Ocean pipeline (construction of the 2,757 km Taishet - Skovorodino section) was launched in April 2006 and completed in December 2009. On 28 December 2009, Transneft began operating this major pipeline. The first tanker, the Moscow University, with a capacity of 100,000 tons, carried oil to the Finnish company IPP Oy.

For oil transported by the pipeline, it was decided to identify a separate, fifth grade called ESPO. The government of the Russian Federation also exempted oil from the thirteen Eastern Siberian fields from export duties. The railway component of the Eastern Siberia - Pacific Ocean transportation project will remain in place until the system's second stage is started up in 2012, when the 2,100-km section of the oil pipeline from Skovorodino to Kozmino is completed. The capacity of the second stage of the oil pipeline will be 45-50 million tons a year. The entire Eastern Siberia - Pacific Ocean pipeline system will reach its design capacity of 80 million tons in stages: in 2010 - 15 million tons, in 2011 - up to 30 million tons, by 2016 - up to 50 million tons, and by 2025 - up to 80 million tons.

The construction of a modern Primorsky Oil Refinery with a capacity of 20 million tons of crude a year and including a petrochemical plant near the Kozmino terminal in the area of Cape Elizarov is planned to be carried out between 2012 and 2015.

Attention focused on hydrocarbon refining

Development of gas production and transportation in Eastern Siberia and in the Far East is to be synchronized with an increase in gas refining. Gas from the fields of the Krasnoyarsk Territory will be processed at the refinery and petrochemical complex in Nizhnyaya Poima. Crude delivered into the Unified Gas Pipeline System (in the southern and western directions) from the Irkutsk Region will be supplied to the Sayansk Refinery, which has a petrochemical facility. Natural gas from the Irkutsk Region, which will be transported via the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) (in the northern and eastern directions), together with gas from the Chayandinskoye and adjacent fields, will be used at the gas refinery and petrochemical complex in the Khabarovsk area.

It is planned to synchronize completion of the gas refinery in Khabarovsk with deliveries of gas from the Yakutsk gas production centre and from the north of the Irkutsk Region (up to 45 billion m3 a year). In 2018, raw material will start arriving at the Khabarovsk gas refinery from the fields in the south of the Irkutsk Region (the Kovyktinsko-Chikanskiy centre) in volumes eventually reaching 28 billion m3 a year.

The main commercial output of the Khabarovsk gas refinery and petrochemical complex will consist of: power gas, technical propane-butane, polyethylene, polypropylene, polyvinyl-chloride, polystyrene and styrene copolymers.

Considering the scale of gas production in the Irkutsk Region, as well as the timelines for construction of the gas pipelines, a project is being considered for building a gas refinery and petrochemical complex in Sayansk in 2013-2015. The plant will refine raw material from the Kovyktinskoye gas condensate field, as well as from the small gas fields in this region. It is proposed to bring deliveries of natural gas to the Sayansk gas refinery up to 20 billion m3 a year by 2030.

Proceeding from the timelines for bringing the Krasnoyarsk Territory fields into production and the rate at which the gas pipeline infrastructure is to be created, the construction of a gas refinery and petrochemical complex in Nizhnyaya Poima to refine raw material from the Yurubcheno-Tokhomsky, Sobinsko-Paiginsky and Agaleyevsko-Imbinsky gas production centers in the Krasnoyarsk Territory is planned for 2014-2015. By 2030, it is planned to bring deliveries to the gas refinery in Nizhnyaya Poima up to 17.5 billion m3 a year.

All articles
Oil of Russia, No. 2, 2010
© 1998-2020, "OIL OF RUSSIA".
"OIL OF RUSSIA" magazine welcomes comments and ideas from its readers.
Letters should be sent by regular mail, fax or e-mail.
All right reserved, including right of reproduction in whole or in parts in any form.