World Energy Congress, Daegu, Korea, 17 October 2013: Forces transforming the global energy industry are presenting both opportunities and challenges for Russia, according to senior government and industry figures at the World Energy Congress in Korea.
Alexander Novak, Minister of Energy, Russia, said: “We have lots of natural gas, so we don’t see producing shale gas as essential.” Minister Novak added: “We’ll look for a few years at what happens in the United States. . . it’s good to have the technology in case we need it.”
Ivan Grachev, chairman of the Committee for Energy of the Russian State Duma, played down the potential impact of shale gas, saying: “There can be no cheap shale gas. . . I’m certain that shale gas will not have a major effect on [global] energy markets.”
Noting that water protection laws in the United States had to be significantly changed to accommodate shale gas drilling, Grachev added that “hardly anyone looks at the environmental impact of shale gas.”
The Russian officials also saw Russian energy ties to Asia expanding, particularly South Korea and China. “1.2 billion people in the world don’t have access to electric power,” Novak said. “And half of those live in Asia.”
Russia is the world’s leading gas exporter and its oil exports equal those from Saudi Arabia. The country is also the world’s third largest exporter of coal after Australia and Indonesia.
Evgeny Dod, chairman of RusHydro, said his company was cooperating with Korea on tidal and wave power projects, which is “emblematic of international energy cooperation.”
Natalia Salaeva, Sakhalin’s minister of natural resources and environmental protection, said that the Korean market accounts for a major share of the islands’ energy exports, including buying 58 percent of oil exports in 2012.
Oleg Budargin, director general of Russian Grids, said: “If a connection is established with Chinese and Korean companies, we could become a state-of-the-art bridge, accounting for huge volumes of power across our territory.”
“We’ve been talking with Korea about a transmission line from Vladivostok to Seoul. There’s a possibility of laying a cable down the seabed. Though political will is necessary, first and foremost,” he added.