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Vol. 13, No. 23 Week of June 08, 2008
Providing coverage of Alaska and northern Canada's oil and gas industry

U.S. Department of Energy likes Murmansk port

Oil could be shipped from Murmansk to the United States if Russia would build a pipeline from producing areas — report

Sarah Hurst

For Petroleum News

Only a few large new oil fields are planned in Russia in the short term, and several of them are in or near the Arctic, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration says in its May country analysis brief on Russia. Those fields include Gazprom’s 100,000 barrel per day Prirazlomnoye field (2010), Lukoil and ConocoPhillips’ 150,000 bpd Yuzhno-Khylchuyuskoye field (mid-2008), and Rosneft’s Komsomolskoye field.

On the topic of transporting oil, EIA’s analysis shows that international shipping from the Murmansk area has two advantages: the port is ice-free most of the year, and it is deep enough to make shipping to the United States economic without reloading in Europe.

“Several pipeline proposals connecting the Murmansk area to existing producing areas in the south in the last several years have been met with lukewarm reactions by Transneft,” the brief continues. “The state-owned company now plans a pipeline to Indiga, 240 miles from the Timan Pechora producing basin that is closer but iced over in winter. No timeline has been set for construction. Oil from Timan Pechora has a lower sulfur content and is lighter than the rest of the Urals blend.”

Oil reaches Murmansk by rail

Russian oil is currently delivered to the Murmansk area by rail, and in 2007 around 270,000 bpd of crude oil and products were shipped from the area, according to the brief. Lukoil will complete its $1 billion, 240,000-bpd terminal at Varandey in June 2008, which will allow shipments from the northern part of Timan Pechora. Lukoil’s major source of oil for this terminal will be the Yuzhno-Khylchuyuskoye field, where production is expected to rise to 150,000 bpd by the end of 2009.

“Government taxation of production and export revenues along with the continued lack of clarity concerning the ownership of subsoil resources contributed to lower output for 2007 and could possibly contribute to stagnating or even negative output growth during 2008,” the brief says. Several proposals are currently being discussed to reduce the tax burden, including one by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin that would give a seven-year mineral extraction tax holiday to oil companies that develop fields in Timan Pechora, Yamal or on the continental shelf beginning in 2009.



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