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Shale Oil Steadies Russia’s Future

Guess who else has shale oil? The FT has the answer:

Leonid Fedun, vice-president of Lukoil, said Russia, the world’s second-largest oil producer after Saudi Arabia, will be able to maintain crude output of 10m barrels a day for years to come as output from western Siberia’s Bazhenov Shale offsets declines in the country’s mature oilfields.

It’s likely that Russian government revenue is going to be tighter as the shift to shale gets going. Russia’s oil companies aren’t yet fully outfitted with the horizontal drilling rigs that have enabled the shale boom in the United States, so the companies are squeezing the Russian government to offer further tax breaks ahead of exploration. Regardless, the Bazhenov fields are said to be five times as large as the US Bakken deposits and should keep Russia more than relevant in the energy sector for the foreseeable future.

From an American point of view, this is all excellent news. The US wants the world to have diverse sources of supply, and anything that helps reduce the world’s dependence on the Middle East is a plus. More supplies from Russia will help keep oil prices low, which is a boon for the world economy.

The task of US foreign policy is easiest when Russia is financially constrained, but not bankrupt or veering toward chaos. Russia’s shale reserves are likely to bring about something very much like that ideal scenario .

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  • Christopher Anderson

    I’d prefer a tanker dependent China.

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