Russia’s Natural Resources Minister Wants Shale Oil Regulation Eased

Russia's Natural Resources Minister Sergei Donskoi

Russia’s Natural Resources Minister Sergei Donskoi

Reuters October 21, 2014

Reporting by Katya Golubkova; Editing by Louise Ireland

Russia needs to lighten regulation to exploit unconventional oil deposits, including shale, its natural resources minister said, as conventional resources dwindle and Western sanctions limit access to foreign technologies and financing.

The world’s top oil producer, believed to hold most of the world’s shale oil, extracts less than a million tonnes a year from unconventional sources, including heavy, tight and shale.

It pumps conventional oil near its capacity of about 10.5 million barrels per day, with the bulk still coming from depleting western Siberian deposits.

Moscow was counting on technology and funding from abroad to increase its shale production before sanctions were imposed this year over its stance on the Ukraine crisis.

Russia is facing serious challenges. It is essential to clearly understand which sources will allow sustaining a mineral resources production level essential for the country’s economic development,” Sergei Donskoi said.

Tapping shale oil has become increasingly unprofitable in Russia as oil prices have plunged by a quarter since June to just above $80 per barrel. Last year, Russia introduced some tax breaks to boost shale oil production.

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