Russia Gears To Explore Crimean Gas Resources

Natural gas-fired power plant in Sevastopol, Crimea.

Natural gas-fired power plant in Sevastopol, Crimea. Credit: CC/Rumlin

Russia should gear up and explore the continental shelf of Crimea for natural gas resources, according to a deliberation by Aleksandr Sergeyev, the head of the Russian Academy of Sciences at a three-day visit on the peninsula.

Sergeyev said that the studies that were conducted earlier and the ones that are currently ongoing highlight that there could be significant gas reserves. He added that the exploration in future would involve a blend of seismic studies and the use of space tools to find out the best areas for drilling.

At the moment, there are reportedly nine producing gas fields in the Crimean shelf. And, the production at Odesskoye, the biggest gas field, would be suspended starting July 1, which is being attributed to international maritime rights arbitration case initiated by Ukraine.

Ukrainian media had reported earlier that since the annexation of the peninsula in 2014, Russia had seized around 7 billion cubic metres of natural gas deposits around Crimea. In this context, Mykhailo Honchar, a Ukrainian energy expert said that Moscow was aware that offshore deposits which the gas was being stolen from were not related to Crimea. He added that it would have to bear responsibility for illegally appropriated property and compensate for the damage.

Meanwhile, NATO estimates that the oil and gas resources of the Crimean shelf were around 4 to 13 trillion cubic metres. And, the pact would reportedly have been instrumental in Ukraine’s drive towards energy independence from Russia.

The annexation of the peninsula was seen by many outside Russia as only a means for Moscow to get access to the massive oil and gas wealth in the Black Sea.

It is also reported that the multinational oil and gas companies, Shell and Exxon had done some exploration work at the Skifska offshore gas field in Crimea before pulling out in 2014, which was before the annexation. The companies had estimated that the field held reserves to the tune of 200 to 250 billion cubic metres of natural gas.

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