Gazprom Steps Up Pressure to Explore Sakhalin III, Claiming Shortages

Gazprom is seeking to explore three Sakhalin III natural gas blocks previously licensed to ExxonMobil and Texaco, reported On June 15 of last year, Gazprom asked the government to transfer the licenses previously held by the U.S. companies without competitive bidding.

At a meeting chaired by Dmitry Medvedev, Gazprom's Management Committee Deputy Chairman Alexander Ananenkov said, "We would like to resolve the issue of allowing geological prospecting at the Ayashsky, Odoptinsky and Kirinsky blocks of the Sakhalin III project by the end of the first quarter."

As the end of the first quarter nears, Gazprom is anxious to explore the Kirinsky block, which Ananenkov claims to have potential gas reserves of 930 Bcm. The Avashsky and Odoptinsky blocks contain reserve deposits that total 400 Bcm, according to Ananenkov.

Ananenkov said that by 2020, the demand for natural gas in Russia's eastern areas will reach 25 Bcm.

"We see a shortage of reserves under Sakhalin projects," said Ananenkov in the report. "Even the purchase of the entire gas output under the Sakhalin I project will not resolve the problem completely by 2015-2020."

According to the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, Russia's nationwide natural gas consumption tops out at 614.7 Bcm.