Keywords: natural gas, resources, geopolitics, energy, Northeast Asia countries, East Siberia and the Far East of Russia, environment, investments, effectiveness, cooperation
Natural gas markets and the creation of an export gas pipeline system in Eastern Russia
The world natural gas markets are analysed, with a special focus on the countries of Northeast Asia (NEA). The natural gas demands of China, Japan and South Korea, until the year 2020, is projected, considering a possible share of Russian gas. The resource potential of natural gas from the Siberian platform and the Sakhalin shelf is given as a sound basis for fuelling Russia's position in the natural gas market of NEA countries. Development of the powerful gas industry in the East of Russia faces some particular conditions that can decrease the effectiveness of investments. The eastern geopolitical direction is very important for Russia and the necessity to create a favourable political and economic environment for oil and gas export is of prime interest, as stressed in Energy Strategy for Russia till the Year 2020. In this context, the long-term market for natural gas in East Siberia and the Far East of Russia is investigated. Possible routes of natural gas export from Russia to NEA countries include three main directions: to the west of China with connection to the 'West-East gas pipeline', a route through and/or round Mongolia and, finally, a route along the Trans-Siberian or Baikal-Amur railroads to Russian ports in the Far East. As a result of complex studies, three stages in the creation of the unified gas pipeline system are suggested. Evaluation of the investments required for construction of such a natural gas pipeline system, expected gas volumes and prices on the markets show its high economic efficiency. In conclusion, the most valuable ideas are stressed.