More foreign investment coming for Russian Arctic developments

January 29, 2014

Western oil companies are sponsoring the exploration of Russian Arctic waters, and the grand Yamal LNG project gets the lion’s share of investments from French and Chinese partners, Barents Observer said on January 28.

Russia is placing major stress on the development of its Arctic energy resources, but is paying for only a modest part of the cake. The country’s leading oil and gas companies are leaning heavily on foreign financing in several major projects. Leader of Novatek, Leonid Mikhelson now confirms that his share of investments in the Yamal LNG project amounts to only about 20 percent of development costs. Novatek is the second biggest Russian gas company and is in the process of developing the Yamal project which ultimately will deliver an annual 16,5 million tons of LNG to the world market. The remaining 80 percent of project development will be covered by project partners Total and the CNPC, both of whom controls 20 percent respectively of the joint venture.

The price tag for the Yamal LNG development is estimated to $26,9 billion, newspaper Vedomosti reports. It is believed that the Chinese side will take on a major share of investments. As previously reported, the acquisition of the CNPC’s project stake was most likely accompanied by an obligation from Chinese banks to offer financing. According to Vedomosti, a total of 70 percent of the investments will be based on credits.

The financial contributions of Novatek in the project could drop futher as a third foreign partner could be included in the consortium. According to Mikhelson, several companies, among them from India, China, Japan and South Korea have signaled interest.

In addition to the Yamal project, foreign companies are also funding major parts of the ongoing seismic studies in the Kara and Barents Seas. The Arctic cooperation agreements between Rosneft and ExxonMobil, Eni and Statoil all state that is is the foreign partner which will cover exploration works. As previously reported, Rosneft and its foreign partners in 2013 conducted a total of 32,727 km of 2D mapping, while another 2559 square kilometers of 3D mapping was completed. The mapping was made at the Fedynsky, Tsentralno-Barentsevsky, the Vostochno-Prinovozemelsky 1-3, Yuzhno-Russky, Medynsko-Varandeysky, the Magadan 1-3, as well as the Lisyansky Kashevarovsky areas.

Copyright: Barents Observer, 2014