gold over 4,200 tons produced tin, tungsten, silver, antimony, diverse other metals, and mercury-largest working world deposit
|Okhotsk-Chukotka province a
for silver over 2,000 tons produced
gold over 100 tons produced
copper, molybdenum, other metals.
The Union of Russian Gold Prospectors president noted Russia is capable of doubling its gold production, conditional on bringing several major gold deposits on stream: Sukhoy Log in Irkutsk region, Mayskoye Chukotka region and Neryungri in the Yakutia. 9 March 2001
Polyus of Krasnoyarsk region The largest gold producer in Russia 2001 produced 16 metric tons; aims to lift production to 25 metric tons.
The second largest gold producer in Russia for 2001 was Omolon of Magadan, which operates the Kubaka mine. it produced 13.5 metric tons of gold. The majority shareholder of Omolon is Kinross of Canada. In recent weeks, Russian investors in Omolon have gone to court claiming Kinross has defaulted on more than $50 million in liabilities and obligations. A St. Petersburg court ruled Kinross’ shareholding in the project is invalid, while other participants in the project have charged Kinross with abandoning the mine operation, and accelerating profit-taking from Omolon’s revenue stream. Kinross officials claim they have been trying to resolve the dispute for months without result. Russian sources say Kinross is intentionally delaying negotiations while speeding up its exit from the mine.
|Mayskoye Mayskoye golden ore deposit||RUSSIA GOLD-MINING IN THE RFE|
|Chukotka Annual gold production growth over 1 ton in 2000||Kubaka Magadan mine - Omolon Gold Mining Company|
|Gold mining is a leading
in Bilibinsky, Smidtovsky, and Chaunsky districts. In 1994, Chukotka
approximately 10 tons of gold.
Fish products and reindeer meat represent the food industry.
|The steel and metal industry is represented by non-ferrous metallurgy (71percent of total industrial output).|
|Power and energy industry (19 percent) is based mainly on Bilibino atomic power plant and the Chaun thermal power plant.||floating atomic power is being constructed move to Pevek and expects to make energy less expensive.|
|Tin is mined in the Chaunsky and Iultinsky districts.||The fuel industry holds 3 % - coal mining (Anadyr).|
Ivany, Executive Vice President, Kinross
Kubaka mine the largest single gold
producer in Russia.
The mine was built in late 1996 - early 1997, over the winter season. In May of 1997, Cyprus sold its interest to Amax that was a subsidiary of Cyprus, a publicly traded U.S. gold company. The Kubaka mine went into production on June 1, 1997, and in June of 1998, Kinross and Amax merged with Kinross as the continuing operating company. As you can see, the Kinross management was not responsible for the investment decision nor was it responsible for the construction, but we have been operating the mine for the last two years.
mine is truly a magnificent mine.
What we have been focusing on as the main concern for Kubaka for the past year, and for the ongoing years, is a vigorous exploration program in the region to find additional reserves.
Because, as I will point out to you, in spite of all the positives of this mine, its short life creates most of the problems. What I was asked to do was to review with you our impressions and our experiences as an operator of this mine. The tendency at sessions such as this is to dwell on negatives and ignore the positives. Mr. Minister, I would like to assure you that there are several positives our operations in Russia, and I would like to start by enumerating some of those.
body is a fine ore body with high
it is amenable to open pit mining methods.
spite of what you hear about the myriad of
conflicting laws and almost pedantic application of those regulations
laws, in those few instances where we have had to permits, then
or do similar things to keep the operation going smoothly and
operational changes, our experience has been that we have actually been
able to get the attention of senior officials and achieve those permits
quicker than we could in a North American context.
Difficulties we encountered at Kubaka are not necessarily all unique to Russia. The remote, far northern location presents the same problems that one would encounter in Northern Canada, and we deal with the problems much the same as we would in Canada, the difference because supporting infrastructure in Canada is more advanced, compared to what you would find in Magadan. Magadan is a very poor region. It needs development, it needs diversity in its economy and, until that happens, people will suffer from a poor infrastructure in that part of the country.
What I would like to dwell on this morning in terms of negatives, if you will, are three areas which our experience has led us to believe to be the key in encouraging future investment in the country. These are in no particular order, but I would first like to talk about the way, under Russian regulations, that a gold producer has to deal with its product. This creates tremendous difficulties with regards to the initial investment decision. Kubaka was a very high capital-cost project for such a relatively small operation. Initial capital costs were about US$ 240 million and, when we took over in 1998, we found there was a deficiency of working capital. We had inject another US$ 20 million of working capital, so I think the real capital costs were more in the order of US$ 260 million.
investment was achieved, planned, and
based on the
expectation gold span prices would be US$ 375 per ounce and
We all know that that was a very optimistic view of where the gold
Therefore, we set out, as our first priority, to find out how we could deal with this product.
ourselves in the middle of a bit of a struggle
in Russia with regard to who would get export licenses, if anybody
get export licenses.
So we not only had to go through hoops to export our gold span, we also had to assume some risks associated with those very weak banks, as it turned out. The upshot of this was that, because you did not have the freedom to deal with your product, you could not put a hedge position into place.
There was no mechanism to finance Kubaka with a gold loan, and so owners were totally exposed to the falling gold span price. That is the single biggest reason that Kubaka overall as a project will have an inadequate return to its shareholders. Had companies been able to secure a price anywhere near the price that was existent at the time the investment decision was made, it would have been quite a different story for the profitability of this project.
I encourage you, Mr. Minister, to review the necessary changes to enable producing companies to protect themselves by either hedging or entering into gold span loans with regard to new projects.
second area that we think is critical, and
is the overall taxation burden placed on Russian operations. We
approximately 30% of our revenues in taxes and most of taxes (we pay
thirty odd different taxes) all but very few of them are revenue-based
the encouraging events was in the last
The last area is more general in nature, is structural to the economic and political overview of Russia, and will be dealt with in detail by the likes of Mr. Brewer. I would just like to point out that, as a company operating in Russia, the effects of the uncertainties, economic and political, are to dramatically increase costs and risks. We pay on our loans, principally with the EBRD and with OPIC (U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation) LIBOR plus 6 1/2%, which is more than we would pay in almost any other jurisdiction. That is strictly because of their view of the political risks in Russia.
your comments, and I agree that Russia
this and is making moves to put lenders at ease.
The second point is, with an uncertain economic environment, you have a very weak banking system internally in Russia, and the availability of working capital to suppliers, to operations such as ourselves, is difficult. As a result, we made great strides procuring goods and services within Russia, but we are dealing with very financially weak suppliers and we have to, in order to keep them afloat, make large advance payments to them.
The Risks, although we have not suffered a loss on account of making those advance payments, are always present, and it would be overly optimistic to think we are never going to suffer one of those losses.
So, on balance, had we had a gold price anywhere near what had been anticipated when Kubaka was built, our overall experience in Russia would have been very good. The combinations of a gold price, and some unique high costs associated with the matters I have talked about, meant return to shareholders on Kubaka is inadequate. However we are, as I said, interested in continuing with the assets we have in Russia, the workforce, the equipment to develop other projects in that part of the country. Moreover, we are encouraged to hear your remarks this morning.
IN THE RFE
September 2001 By Yana Tselikova, U.S. Commercial Service, Vladivostok, Russia
INTERNATIONAL COPYRIGHT, U.S. & FOREIGN COMMERCIAL SERVICE AND U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE, 2001. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED OUTSIDE OF THE UNITED STATES.
After almost a decade of depression, the gold-mining industry in Russia has started to recover and develop. Two-thirds of Russian gold mining is located in Eastern Siberia and The Russian Far East (RFE). The recent statistics show a steady growth in gold production in the RFE. Considerable wear-and-tear of existing equipment and the necessity of introducing new technologies, combined with better access to financial resources provide improved business opportunities to U.S. exporters of mining machinery. This report provides an overview of the gold-mining industry in the RFE, and an insight into prospects for U.S. businesses.
History: Gold-mining has always been one of the traditional and leading sectors in the Russian Far East (RFE) economy. In Soviet times, the gold-mining industry was a total government monopoly, although in the 1970s the first non-government enterprises (the so-called artels) started to appear. But the government still was strictly regulating the extraction, production, and sale of precious metals.
Before Russia started to go through reforms in the 1990s, the largest gold-mining enterprise in the RFE was SeveroVostokZoloto which covered Kolyma (Magadan), Chukotka, and Kamchatka, and produced up to 50 tons annually. Yakutzoloto from Sakha (Yakutiya) manufactured up to 30 tons per year, Amurzoloto (Amur Oblast) - 10-12 tons and Primorzoloto (Primorskiy and Kahabrovskiy Krais, and Sakhalin) - 8-10 tons.
Outdated labor-consuming technologies and equipment, low capital investments, turmoil in the Russian economy, and drop in the gold prices on the world's market nearly resulted in the industry's collapse in the mid 1990s.
The reserves of gold in Western Russia are almost exhausted. But in Eastern Russia (Eastern Siberia and the RFE) there are at least 5 deposits with estimated reserves of over 300 tons, as well as a number of 100-300 ton deposits.
After Russia began shifting to a market economy and the government stopped supporting the gold-mining industry, most of the companies were experiencing considerable financial constraints during 1991-1997. Besides, the seasonal nature of gold production made it very challenging to find financial resources in advance to prepare for the mining season. Banks were very reluctant to provide loans and credit lines, and the interest rates were outrageous – 40-45% in hard currency. The government support through Komdragmet (The State Committee for Precious Stones) was more nominal than practical. Most of the gold-miners found themselves in financial deadlock - - they kept on borrowing money to pay back loans and interest.
The situation in the industry improved in 1998. Like many other export-oriented industries, gold mining has benefited from Russia's August 1998 financial crisis. The ruble devaluation and resulting decreased production costs, improved the development of the RFE's gold-mining industry. Most of the loans taken by gold-miners were in rubles, so with the ruble's collapse and with the world's market prices starting to stabilize, the gold-mining companies were able to pay them back very easily. As a result, the profitability of the gold-mining industry and its attractiveness for the investors grew significantly by the end of 1998.
Also in March 1998 the Russian government adopted a Federal Law "On Precious Metals and Gemstones", and in December 1998 Decree #1419 was issued. These new regulations released the government's strict control over the gold industry and gold exports. Commercial banks started to export Russian gold. For the first time in the history of modern Russia, its gold market became a part of the global market. Another positive factor was that gold prices on the world market started to stabilize and increase after a two-decade period of decreases (in 1998 the lowest price for 20 years was registered).
Extraction of placer gold (which is a seasonal process) always significantly prevailed over mining of ore gold. Over the last few years, however, the structure of the gold-mining industry has been changing, and has started to shift from extraction of placer gold to lode gold mining. Lode gold mining is much more attractive to investors because it is not seasonal and is economically more effective.
Investors and banks started to more extensively finance gold-mining projects and companies. Sberbank became an absolute leader in providing loans and credit lines to gold-miners. Together with Vneshtorgbank it accounts for almost 50% of commercial loans given to the domestic gold-miners. Among other banks, the most active were Moscow-based Alfa-Bank, MDM, Zenit, NOMOS-Bank and Menatep, as well as regional and local banks - - Dalkombank, Regiobank, Neryungri Bank, and Kolyma-Bank. In 2000 the average loan interest rate for gold-miners ranged from 15-22% in rubles, and 15-17% in hard currency. Some banks even provided 3-5-year credit lines.
There are some negative factors impeding development of Russia's gold industry. The gold-mining enterprises still lack sufficient capital to update equipment and technology as required.
The introduction of a 5% customs duty on gold exports in April 1999 disappointed the Russian gold-producers, as well as commercial banks involved in the gold exports. To get around this tax, the Russian gold is now being exported via "gray routes", i.e. through countries that are members of the customs union with Russia. The major route is through Belarus (according to the Russian State Customs Committee estimates, in the first half of 2001 96.5% of the total commercial banks' exports was made via this former Soviet Republic).
Although the current world trend in the gold-mining industry is the merging of smaller gold manufacturers into larger corporations, the rate of small companies and artels in Russia is still very high - - about 70% (although they produce only 11% of the total gold output). Such small entities fail to attract investments and are often unable to maintain financial sustainability. But there is already emerging an understanding in the industry of the necessity for amalgamation to better adapt to the existing situation. The latter requires decreasing production costs, introduction of new technologies, and attraction of domestic and foreign investments. Another reason for merging is the on-going shifting from the placer to lode gold production, which needs considerable initial capital investments.
Recent Gold Production
In the RFE the most successful was Sakha Republic (Yakutiya), where gold production increased by 150%. One of the reasons for such impressive growth was the 1-ton "golden loan" given to Aldanzoloto by Komdragmet of the Sakha Republic (Committee of Precious Metals, a state agency), and used for purchasing new equipment. Other leading enterprises in Sakha are Bamskaya, Drazhnik, Zolotinka, Zapadnaya, Nirungan, Ingali, Poisk, Zoloto Yinykchana, and Zoloto Neryungri.
Among the leaders are Ruda (35% growth in ore gold mining), Chukotka (300 kg increase), Arctica, Polyarnaya, and Shakhtyor. Severniye Rudniye Tekhnologii produced 600 kg versus 80 kg during the previous year.
According to the statistics of the Magadan Oblast Administration, the volume of gold produced in 2000 was 30 tons, which is 650-kg growth compared to 1999, and the highest results within the last 7 years. There is a slight shrinkage in gold production in 2001.
Amur Oblast also increased gold production, which reached 11.86 tons in 2000. The best results were achieved by Solovyovskiy Priisk (1.8 tons), Maya, Vostok-1, Zeya, Rassvet, Dalnyaya, Khergu, and Petrovskoye. In the first 7 months of 2001 the region produced 5.18 tons (1.29 tons of lode gold, and 3.89 tons of placer gold). It is 7.4% more than in the same period of 2000. By the end of this year Amur Regions plans to mine about 13 tons.
The growth rate of the gold-mining industry in Khabarovskiy Krai increased 10 times, and was 35% (In 1999 it was 3.5%). In 2000 Kahabrovskiy Krai was in 6th place among the leading gold-mining regions of Russia, and produced 9.2 tons of gold. The projected growth in 2001 is 9%, and the territory plans to mine over 10 tons of gold. Such dramatic increase was the result of the growth of ore gold mining, which now prevails over placer gold extraction. The largest deposits of ore gold are Monogovershinnoye (mined by the company with the same name, which produced 3 tons in 2000), and Ryabinovoye (mined by Amur, which is also one of the largest Russian platinum producers). Other companies with growing production are Vostok, Sever, Zarya, Pribrezhnaya, and Ros-DV.
The results in Primorskiy Krai were much less impressive - - 460 kg. It was mainly because last year was the first for several start-up companies. But in 2001 some growth is expected. Nevada Manhattan, a U.S. license holder for mining Glukhoye lode has not started any site operations yet.
MAJOR DEPOSITS, PROJECTS, and KEY-PLAYERS
The JV Omolonskaya Zolotorudnaya Kompaniya, the second largest gold-mining company in Russia mines the Kubaka lode in Northeast Magadan. Initially the 50% share belonged to the US company Cyprus Amax, and another 50% was distributed between several local companies (Dukatskiy GOK, Magadanskaya Zolotoserebryannaya Kompaniya, Geometall, Elektrum, and the North-Evenk regional association of Evenk tribes). In 1996 Geometall and Elektrum merged into Geometall Plus, and their mutual share grew up to 28%. Later Cyprus Amax sold its share in the JV to the Canadian Kinross Gold Co., while 85.6% of Geometall Plus was acquired by another Canadian firm Western Pinnacle. Now it is a project with major Canadian participation. A total investment of $250 million resulted in extraction of over 50 tons of gold since 1997. In 2000 the company mined 13 tons of gold.
The Kuranakh gold deposit (about 300 tons) in Yakutiya was expected to be mined by Kuranakh Gold Mining Company - - a JV between the local Aldanzoloto, Sakhazoloto, and Canada's Echo Bay Mines. But now the US Newmont Gold is in the process of purchasing shares from Echo Bay Mines. The Kuranakh is included into the list of deposits that are to be mined under PSA, but the parties have not yet agreed about the terms and conditions (note: the PSA process can be very lengthy, and Echo Bay has been involved in this process for several years).
The Nezhdaninskoye lode was discovered in 1961 and is located 800 km to the east from Yakutsk (Sakha Republic/Yakutiya). Projected reserves are 95 million of ore (494 tons of gold with the content of 5.1 grams per 1 ton of ore). It is the second largest gold deposit in Russia. In 1996 the Irish Celtic Resources Holding PLC together with the Russian companies Finansovo-Promyshlennaya Kompaniya and Sakhazloto formed the JV Yuzhno-Verkhoyanskaya Mining Company. But the gold production can start only after the Russian Duma and the government adopts the PSA on this deposit. Without a PSA specifying favorable terms for foreign investors the low initial profitability and delayed returns on investments make this project unattractive.
The Pokrovskoye gold lode is one of the largest in the Amur Oblast. It is mined by Pokrovskiy Rudnik company, which became famous throughout Russia for its unique experience of year-round production by the method of glomeroblastic leaching, and mined 1.5 tons in 2000. This year the company started to build a new gold-extraction plant with annual production capacity of 4 tons. The company already has produced 1.23 tons of gold in 7 months of 2001. One of the largest deposits in the region deposit Bamskoye (over 150 tons of projected reserves) is being exploited by Apsakan company. In 1-2 years it plans to produce 2-3 tons annually.
The Mayskoye deposit in Chukotka (about 300 t of gold in reserves) has already passed three readings, but was not signed by the president because, according to his advisors, it must go through additional editing to better meet the existing legal requirements. The license belongs to the Fund of Chukotka's Development, Fund of the Development of the Chukotka's Economy, artel Chukotka, and Chaunskiy Mining-Geological Enterprise. If the PSA is adopted, several international investors are interested in participating in this project.
The Mnogovershinnoye lode is located in the north of Khabarovskiy Krai near the city of Nikolayevsk-on-Amur. Its reserves are 105 tons of gold with an average content of 9 grams per ton. Mnogovershinnoye is mined by the Mnogovershinnaya Company. It started development of the lode in 1999, and mined 3 tons of gold in 2000. The company plans to reach projected annual capacity of 5 tons in 2002.
The major share of local gold-mining equipment is outdated, with a high wear-and-tear rate. There is substantial demand for a broad range of machinery for mining both placer and lode gold, as well as ore-dressing and engineering equipment. Due to political, and then economic, reasons, U.S. equipment was rarely imported in the past. Both political and economic changes as well as growing gold production in the RFE present business opportunities for U.S. exporters of mining equipment.
Among the best sales prospects are: trucks, bulldozers, excavators, drilling machinery, ore-dressing equipment, ore-crushing/milling machinery, and ore-recovering equipment.
Further Assistance for U.S. Companies This information is being provided by the U.S. & Foreign Commercial Service in Russia, which offers its services to U.S. companies wishing to sell U.S. products and services in Russia, including identifying distributors and arranging meetings with prospective buyers during business visits. Commercial Service Russia has offices in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Vladivostok and Yekaterinburg.
Contact: For further information you are welcome to contact the author of this report at CS Vladivostok: Yana Tselikova U.S. Commercial Service Vladivostok 32 Pushkinskaya Street Vladivostok, Russia, 690000 Tel.: (7-4232) 300-093 Fax: (7-4232) 300-092 Int'l Fax: (7-509) 851-1211 E-mail: Yana.Tselikova@mail.doc.gov or Vladivostok.email@example.com www.cs.vladivostok.com
Companies may obtain information on the
and general counseling on their approach without charge. Intensive
services are available through the following customized programs: This
report is provided courtesy of the Business Information Service for the
Newly Independent States (BISNIS)
|IEC Mining Committee Mission Report - April
13 - 16,
MARHOPE Systems Inc.
41 Dana Cres., Thornhill, Ont. L4J 2R4,
Canada Phone: (905)707-7615, Fax: (905)707-7686,
From : B. Aryev, P.Eng., President
Chukotka - Moscow Representative Expecting
inclusion of Mayskoye
deposit in the PSA list in July.
Half of Chukotka's territory lies above the Arctic Circle. The Region's climate is severe, with long cold winters and short summers.
Chukotka is located in a permafrost area and is mostly covered by tundra. Due to a short growing season, almost all food must be obtained externally. Local agriculture is focused on reindeer herding and fishing. Chukotka's main body of water, the Anadyr River, flows into the Bering Sea.
The Region has no railroads. The majority of cargo is moved by road with the rest (about 25%) shipped by ocean. Chukotka has two ports, Anadyr and Pevek, located on the Bering and Siberian Seas respectively. River traffic is negligible. Anadyr's airport is approved for international service, dealing mostly with international charters.
Chukotka's population amounts to just 100,000 people, which makes it the least populated region in the Russian Far East. Russians started settling the area in the 20th century and presently constitute the majority of the inhabitants - a situation typical for the Russian Far East. Natives amount to just 17,000 people, representing the northern nomadic tribes engaged mainly in reindeer herding. The largest cities are Anadyr, Pevek and Bilibino.
The main industry in Chukotka is mining. In fact, the area was settled and developed in the course of exploration and mining of its rich mineral reserves. The territory produces substantial quantities of gold, ranking the third after Magadan and Yakutia in gold output. Tin is also mined in the area.
Chukotka is home to the only nuclear power station in the Russian Far East installed in the city of Bilibino. It became an independent region of the Russian Federation in 1992. Prior to this it was part of Magadan. Today the Region has its own local parliament and government.
The Mayskoye golden ore deposit lies 280 kilometers south-east of Pevek. The exploration of the field has been completed. The ores are refractory and are represented by saturated sulfites and dynamometamorphism zones in rock mass of black shales. The average content of gold is 12 g/t. More than 70 percent of the gold is associated with pyrite and arsenopyrite.Chukotka territory covers the northern flank of the Okhotsk-Chukotka volcanic belt. Geologically it is quite promising for prospecting for silver-gold deposits similar in type to Dukat. General geological settings show some major deposits of high-grade gold-silver and essentially silver ores could be discovered in Chukotka.
Chukotka is the largest mercury province in the world. Explored reserves of two explored deposits are sufficient to satisfy the world's demand in mercury.
The Region is known to have some areas promising for prospecting of porphyry copper. However, only one of them had exploration works that resulted in discovery of economic deposit demonstrating significant resources of copper, molybdenum, gold and platinum. Copper mining (the Peschanka copper field 150 kilometers south of Bilibino)
Other mineral resources
Current Weather In Anadyr
|Chukotka Alaska Pet Res Strat Column||
Oil and gas reserves of
|Oil-And-Gas Bearing Basins|
|Chukotka Auton Regn Overview 10 1998||
|Western Pinacle Resources (Cyprus)||
CONCEPT AND APPLICATIONS
|ms Chukotka Prof Konstantinovich||
Oil Company (Sibneft)
Governor’s Office 20 Beringa Street
Anadyr, Chukotka, Russia 689000
Tel: 7-42722-24262, 22227
||Sibneft to develop three oil and gas blocks in Chukotka region|
WPN'se currently held via its 85.7% owned Russian subsidiaries - Geometall Plus, Geometall and Geometall Dukat (Geometall Group), leading mining companies in Magadan. Geometall Plus owns 24.97% of Russia's largest gold mine, Kubaka. Geometall holds prospective exploration licences: Chai Yuria and Orotukan; Exploration-Devlopment licence for Nyavlenga and 39.5% in Dvoinoye, a small sized hard-rock gold mine in Chukotka. Geometall also has an Alluvial Gold Mining Subsidiary - Placer Geometall developing a number of placer gold deposits in the Magadan Region.
Yukos form JV to study areas off Chukotka district
By the OGJ Online Staff HOUSTON, Aug. 9
Russian companies Sibneft and Yukos agreed to jointly study exploration zones in the Chukotka and East Siberian seas off the autonomous Chukotka district. The equal joint venture partners will process existing seismic data from the area. They intend to conduct further seismic studies and may later drill exploration wells.
Sibneft said it is drilling its first onshore exploration well in Chukotka from a site on Molchalivy Island; it is also preparing to develop the West Ozyornoye gas field.
Sibneft also said the geological structure of
Siberian Sea and Chukotka Sea basins is similar to that of Alaska's
PEVEK The location place for NTPP
unit is Pevek harbour of Chaunsky region, Chukotsky autonomous district.
ANADYR, the capital of Chukotka in north-east Russia
by Roman Abramovich, newly-elected Governor of Chukotka, started delivery
of oil drilling equipment, bulldozers, and
Sibneft plants to develop both off-shore and on-shore oil reserves in Chukotka.
The reserves were researched long ago but were
due to high costs and difficult weather conditions. Sibneft
that the company will be able to overcome these difficulties and solve
the energy crisis in Northeastern Russia as well as supply fuel to
vessels in the Sea of Okhotsk and the Bering Sea. (Source: Vostok Media
Retail operations include a chain of about 720
stations across western and central Siberia.
The company, with proved reserves of 4.6 billion barrels of oil, controls a major refinery in Omsk that produces about 340,000 barrels of oil per day.
Sibneft also has strategic alliances with Western oil services companies Schlumberger and BJ Services.
Reclusive oligarch Roman Abramovich claims to control Sibneft, although Western banks ING Barings, ABN AMRO, and Deutsche Bank nominally hold 23%, 20%, and 19% of the company, respectively.
Sits On Riches But Lives In Poverty
By Andrei Ivanov and Judith Perera
MOSCOW, Nov 12 (IPS) - For the past two weeks, Anadyr, the capital of Chukotka in north-east Russia, has been facing daily power cuts, as its local authorities desperately hunt for cash to run life-sustaining basic services. As the Arctic winter sets in, power is being shut off daily for four hours a time, putting refrigerators out of service and endangering winter food stores. Even the gas supplies cut out when the electricity goes off.
On paper, Chukotka, 6,700 kilometres north-east of
is rich beyond its needs. It sits on the second largest reserves of
in Russia, as well as significant reserves of coal, tin and oil, with
fish stocks off its long coasts. Yet the inhospitable province still
provide for itself and must 'import' everything from toilet paper to
bulbs from St Petersburg, and pay for them with its earnings from the
materials it 'exports' to the south. And there are no earnings, as
trading partners in Russian provinces elsewhere see their cash flow
and the value of their assets evaporate in the present economic crisis.
Last year the region's total trade turnover was worth four million dollars. But this covered exports worth 20,000 dollars and imports worth 3.98 million dollars -- a 99 percent deficit.
In Soviet days, when the region was developed to
the exploitation of its natural resources, Moscow encouraged people to
move into the region by offering higher than average pay and many other
privileges. A 'northern delivery' programme, run from St Petersburg,
established to bring in supplies regardless of cost.
This is no longer possible. Last year the supplies feel short by 700,000, including a missing 138,000 tonnes of vital oil products, says Vladimir Goman, chairman of Russia's State Committee for the North.
The situation is no better this year. Only the 'survival minimum' of food and fuel has been delivered to the northern regions, he says.
Chukotka overall needs 460,000 tonnes of coal, but supplies will be reduced to a minimum this winter because of the financial difficulties. Even then the local administration has no money to pay the workers who deliver it to the general populace. Furthermore Chukotka's only nuclear power plant at Bilibino may soon be closed by safety fears and funding problems. The plant has not been paid for the power it supplied in 1997 or 1998, leaving it with a deficit of 109 million roubles (about 6.8 million dollars).
Goman concedes that the Russian government has done
best to settle the problems under conditions of economic crisis and a
banking system. He also notes that Chukotka's own administration needs
improvements in efficiency even though it employs twice the number of
than the Russian average. But he also complains that Moscow has failed
to deliver all the money it has pledged in the past, creating a crisis
for this and next year. ''Poor organisation is only a part of the
''From 1994 to this day, about 20 billion roubles in credits and loans were allocated to northern territories for goods and supplies. However, only 40.5 percent of the money was received by regional funds for support of northern supplies. Where is the rest of the money?''
Last December, the Russian government agreed to back
to reform state support for the North and reaffirm support for a
programme for the development of northern regions. ''However, they are
of little effect and are not being properly fulfilled,'' Goman says.
he is pressing Moscow to allow a top to bottom revision of the region's
municipal zoning, on which supplies and funds are allocated.
''Many towns and settlements have been deserted by their residents,'' he says. In fact the region's population has fallen by half, from 160,000 to 80,935 people between 1990 and 1998. Whole settlements are being shut down as people lose their jobs, abandon their valueless homes and property and seek work elsewhere.
The old and poor are trapped. ''Today, one in every five northern residents is a pensioner. It is necessary to encourage their movement to the country's southern regions in order to release funds to support the able-bodied population.'' Only very few people presently benefit from relocation aid packages designed to help migrants buy new homes or ship their belongings to new homes in Central Russia. And those who are leaving are the descendants of the original privileged Russian immigrants.
Like the old, the indigenous peoples of the region are being left behind to make the best of what is left of their traditional ways of life and work, as reindeer herders and fishermen.
For Goman, it is the plight of these indigenous
that most worries him. ''The preservation of traditional occupations
crafts is a matter of survival for these peoples who live in extremely
difficult conditions.'' These arctic rural communities, where the
lifespan is just 45 years, are plagued by tuberculosis, parasitic
alcoholism and unemployment.
''Even with the present limited resources of the federal budget it is important to find funds for promoting reindeer husbandry as a major source of food supplies for ethnic villages and nomadic tribal communities,'' he says.
He wants sea fishing licences to go to ethnic minority businesses and fresh funds directed to commodity producers. He also urges a new system of ownership of land and mineral resources -- presently controlled by federal and regional governments -- that gives the indigenous populations a bigger say and a fairer share in the division of resources.
Whether all this can be done is not known. ''The government has been very busy passing laws on the far north,'' Goman says, ''but few of them are implemented.''
In the long run, Goman believes, the economic
will be overcome ''and the time will come when we shall continue the
of huge reserves of oil, gas, non-ferrous metals, gold, diamonds and
other riches of the North.
''The government's task is to create the necessary conditions for this.'' (END/IPS/AI/JMP/RJ/98)
Summary. Chukotka Autonomous Region is located in the northeastern-most area of Russia on the Chukotka peninsula and on the adjoining part of the mainland. In 1992, Chukotka was separated from the Magadan Region and is currently one of 89 Russian regions. Chukotka peninsula is separated from the United States by the Bering straight and is the Russian territory closest to the Unites States, both geographically and in its potential economic and business cooperation.
Severe climate conditions have not prevented Chukotka region from developing various branches of its industry - mining, reindeer breeding, hunting, and fur trade; and the economic potential of the region goes even far beyond those industry sectors. Handicraft and distinctive culture create the unique ethnic atmosphere of Chukotka. Chukotka has good potential for long-term investment. Being traditionally a land of reindeer herders and sea mammal hunters, Chukotka is distinguished by gold ore deposits and rich natural resources which form a basis for potential profitable business cooperation with this region of Russia. End Summary.
1. History and Geography. The Chukotka Autonomous Region is one of the 89 regions of the Russian Federation. It is the farthest northeastern part of Russia that borders Alaska via the Bering Straight. The closest to Alaska is the Russian Ratmanov Island which is less than five kilometers from one of the two Diomede Islands belonging to the U.S. In 1643, the explorer and seafarer Semyon Dezhnev reached the Kolyma outfall, and in 1648, he went from the Kolyma outfall to the shore of Chukotka peninsula. Finally, his boat was cast ashore by the severe sea, and in 1648, Semyon Dezhnev reached the Anadyr outfall by land and discovered a straight connecting Asia and North America. Dezhnev's name was given to the farthest northeastern point of Asia at Chukotka.
The Chukotka Region was formed in 1940 as an independent national unit, but later it was included in regions of Kamchatka, Khabarovsk, and since 1953 - in the Magadan Region. In 1980, Chukotka obtained a status of autonomous region within the Magadan Oblast, and in 1992, the region once again became an independent unit of the Russian Federation.
The word "Chukotka" was formed from the Russian name of an ancient tribe, "Chukchi" (they call themselves Lyg'oravetlan). The word "Chukchi", is derived from "Chauchi", that is "rich with reindeers", and is known since the time of Dezhnev's reports 350 years ago. Thus, the name "Chukotka" itself is full of content and means "an area inhabited by reindeer people, Chukchi".
Located on the Chukotka peninsula and on the adjoining part of the mainland, Chukotka region is washed by the Arctic Ocean (the East Siberian Sea and the Chukchi Sea) and by the Pacific Ocean (the White Sea and the Okhotsk Sea). It borders on the Magadan Region and the Koryak Region. Chukotka is located 3,671 miles away from Moscow. The area of Chukotka is 737,000 square kilometers (284,000 square miles), and it is the sixth largest area in Russia. Chukotka Region includes eight administrative divisions, three cities and towns, and 17 urban-type settlements. The major cities are Anadyr (population of 13,000), Bilibino (11,000), and Pevek (9,000). The landscape is mainly plateau and mountainous.
The rivers in the region belong to the Arctic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean basins. The largest is the Anadyr River which flows into the Bering Sea. There is a number of lakes in the region. Permafrost and tundra cover most of Chukotka. During summer months, between May and September, the tundra is vibrant with flowers, shrubs and wild berries. Chukotka has 31,516 square kilometers set aside as protected nature areas, including the Wrangel Island, a 795,000 hectare nature reserve in the Arctic Ocean, which is home to polar bear, walrus and Arctic geese. Fauna includes many types of animals and fish such as arctic fox, squirrel, fox, wolf, bear, white hare, reindeer, seal, walrus, and some others. Currently, several institutions are interested in establishing an international park, Beringia, which would include a large territory in Chukotka.
Chukotka has a severe climate. The geographical location of the Chukotka peninsula between two oceans has resulted in extreme temperatures and complex atmospheric weather patterns. Cyclones and anticyclones are characteristic of Chukotka's weather, which may change several times a day: a strong, cold north wind may suddenly give way to southern winds that bring snowstorms or blizzards. The annual average temperature is always below zero centigrade throughout Chukotka. On average, there are 150 windy days in coastal areas. In winter, polar nights cover half of Chukotka's territory whereupon its towns and villages are plunged into frosty darkness for several months. The sun rises over the horizon for no longer than two or three hours a day. Strong winds (up to 30 meters per second) form big snowdrifts that cover Chukotka from September till May.
2. Population. Chukotka's population is currently 80,000 in comparison with 113,000 in 1995 and it is diminishing rapidly. Urban population represents 71 percent, and rural population - 29 percent. Population density is 0.2 persons per one square kilometer. About two thirds of population have emigrated to the mainland in last five years, 10 percent of them are Chukchi and 60 percent - Russians. In order to attract younger population, Chukotka administration is working closely with Ukrainian and Belorussian governments. Unemployment rate in Chukotka is 3.8-4.5 percent.
The major native populations of Chukotka are Chukchi and Chuvantsy who live in the tundra of Chukotka in iarangas, the reindeer-skin dwellings. Other native populations include Eskimo, Koriak, and Eveny. However, about 65 percent of population came from the mainland and include Russians, Ukrainians and Belorussians. Russians were attracted to Chukotka by high salaries (standard salaries were multiplied by three, and it was a perfect opportunity in Soviet times to work in Chukotka for three to five years and then return to mainland and buy an apartment there) but nowadays salaries in Chukotka are not much higher than in other regions of Russia (average salary is 2,600 rubles, or US$430) while prices are two to three times higher because of transportation and storage expenses.
3. Economy, Industry and Agriculture. Chukotka ranks seventy sixth in Russia in the total industrial output. Chukotka economy is focused on mining as a major industry sector. The region is rich in natural resources represented by deposits of tin ores, mercury ores, gold, coal, natural gas, and building materials. Chukotka has the second largest reserve of gold and tungsten in Russia. Chukotka's economy is based on the mining industry, but its industrial output is declining because of low profitability. The main industrial centers are Pevek and Bilibino.
After separating from the Magadan Region in 1992, Chukotka lost well developed economic infrastructure, and it is now aimed at establishing new economic links.
Gold mining is a leading industry and is centered in Bilibinsky, Smidtovsky, and Chaunsky districts. In 1994, Chukotka produced approximately 10 tons of gold. Tin is mined in the Chaunsky and Iultinsky districts. The steel and metal industry is represented by non-ferrous metallurgy (71 percent of total industrial output). Power and energy industry (19 percent) is based mainly on Bilibino atomic power plant and the Chaun thermal power plant. Currently, a floating atomic power plant is being constructed which will be moved to Pevek and it is expected to make energy less expensive. The fuel industry holds three percent and is represented by coal mining (Anadyr). Fish products and reindeer meat represent the food industry.
The Bilibino nuclear power plant is the closest Russian nuclear power station to the United States. It is located 1,300 kilometers from Nome and 2,200 kilometers from Anchorage. The Bilibino power plant was built in 1973, and it is planned be put out of operation by 2007. Russia plans to build small new-generation floating nuclear reactors for use in electricity production and water desalination. The design has been developed by a Minatom mechanical engineering unit in Nizhny Novgorod and the Kurchatov Atomic Energy Institute in Moscow. Construction of the Pevek floating nuclear power plant is expected to be completed by the end of the century. It will be the first of 15 small floating reactors designed to bring electricity to remote regions of the Arctic.
The advantage of the floating power plants, is that they will not require refueling for up to four years, will operate for up to 40 years, being interrupted every 13 years for a return to Murmansk for maintenance. The power produced by those power plants would be five times cheaper than from other available sources (10 cents/kWh), and reactors will pay for themselves after only 10 years. Two KLT-40 35 Mwe reactors that are presently used in nuclear-powered ice-breakers, will be placed aboard a 160 meter long unpropelled steel barge. As well as the reactors, the barge will have four more units, either power plants or desalination plants, or a combination.
There are no railways and highways in Chukotka. Port service and support is one of Chukotka's main industries. Anadyr, Beringovsky, Egvenkinot, Lavrentiya, Provideniya, Schmidt, and Pevek are seaports on the Northern Sea Route which goes from Murmansk to the Pacific. Major seaports are Anadyr and Pevek. Both cities also have international airports that require modernization. There are three regular flights from Moscow to Anadyr each week and one charter flight from Moscow to Pevek, both from Vnukovo airport. The flight takes about eight hours. Chukotka is nine time zones away from Moscow (+9 hours Moscow time).
Telecommunication system of the region includes:
- network equipment (automatic communication
in district and region centers, automatic telephone stations in
- a network of ground communication lines which include internal zonal communication lines between communication stations as well as local communications lines,
- a network of satellite communication lines including point-to-point lines between the regional automatic long-distance telephone stations in Anadyr, and automatic long-distance switching stations in Moscow, Novosibirsk, and Magadan, communication lines with distant communities and between telephone users connected in the network according to the unit principle.
While establishing a unified communications system, Chukotka purchased digital communication equipment S-2000 from Iskratel, Slovenia. The unified satellite communications system will be established by the end of 1998 and will make it possible to call major cities of Chukotka directly using the city code. Communications system will be established using the Russian Gorizont satellite on geostationary orbit.
Currently, only 20 to 25 percent of Chukotka's population and enterprises can make long-distance calls due to the lack of point-to-point communication channels, and low capacity of the long-distance telephone station; and the Chukotka Division of Communications cannot satisfy the high demand in telephones for population due to the lack of telephone capacity. Cellular network is being developed using low orbit satellites via the central station though the demand is relatively low because of low purchasing power of the population.
Chukotka region ranks eighty fourth in Russia in total agriculture production. Green-house cultivation of vegetables is common because of permafrost. Animal husbandry includes reindeer-breeding, fur-farming, and fishing. Throughout the region, some 450,000 reindeer graze each year. Chukotka produces several reindeer products, including meat, skins and hard horn. Chukotka does not export any agricultural products. It imports most of food products either from the other regions of Russia or from abroad. Chukotka officials claim that the United States is the major exporter of food products to the region, including meat, vegetables (mainly potatoes) and fruit that come from Alaska.
4. Science. The Scientific Research Center "Chukotka" (NITs) is a research institute located in Anadyr that is engaged in natural sciences such as geology, permafrost studies, water ecosystems, studies of languages of native population, and ethnographic studies. The institute has arranged a number of expeditions to study the tundra nature and rich natural resources of the region as well as ethnography. Scholars from Japan, the United States and many other countries visit NITs as interns.
The main research issues of NITs are as follows:
- study of the structure of geospheres and the
of organization of biosphere and noosphere systems in Western Beringia,
- biologic cycle characteristic features in the Beringia sector of Arctic and Subarctic zones,
- study of biological and ecological diversity in Chukotka, estimation of biological resources potential,
- ecological expertise of realization of technical and other projects,
- ethnosocial and medico-ecological problems of the region,
- ecological certification of population centers and enterprises,
- creation of ecological, socio-demographic and mineral data banks of the region, and
- strategy of protection and rational use of nature in Chukotka.
5. Major Cities. The capital city of Chukotka is Anadyr. Its population is 13,000 which is large for an Arctic city. Majority of population are immigrants to the region, mainly Russians and Ukrainians with a small native population. The population has been fluctuating in recent years as people migrate away from Chukotka. In the stores one can find all kinds of imported foods including those from the U.S., priced several times higher than in Central Russia.
Pevek is one of the major industrial cities in the region. Established in 1930-s, Pevek is now the most northern city in Russia and a large seaport. Pevek received city status on April 6, 1967, and became the first city to the North of the Polar Circle. Pevek is the main city of the Chaunsky District of Chukotka. It is situated in latitude 69'40 North and longitude 170'11 East, above the Polar Circle.
The native population are chukchi, though they never inhabited the territory of Pevek because of a strong wind called "yuzhak" (the southerner) which blows from Peekinei mountain that gave a name to the city. The speed of "yuzhak" reached up to 30-40 meters per second with a maximum of 73. Summer in Pevek is short and cold, and snow remains all year round. In winter, the Polar night stays in Pevek for almost three months though auroras are common for the area.
Pevek is accessible by sea 100 days per year, and atomic ice-breakers are needed to enter the port in winter months. Having more than 30 ships a year entering the Pevek seaport ten years ago, Pevek currently has two to three ships arrive at port primarily to deliver food to the city. Some gold and other ore mines have been closed. Nevertheless, industry is still developing in the Chaunsky District. The road from Pevek to Bilibino has been built, and it is currently being expanded further to the east to Egvenkinot to facilitate transportation to and from deposits of natural resources. Mayskoye ore deposit is planned to be developed in 1999-2000.
In January 1999, the tender will be announced for the Mayskoye deposit by the Chukotka administration. There have also been extensive uranium deposits. Between 1942 and 1956, there were a number of camps for political prisoners who worked in uranium deposits in the Chaunsky District. The international airport and the seaport are expected to become international transit points in the North. Given the current economic difficulties, Pevek Administration was the first in Chukotka to open a Center for Social Protection which is a place where aged people can have lunch, medical help, meet, and relax.
6. Investment Opportunities. Chukotka Autonomous Region may become an area of long-term investment for U.S. companies. Due to economic restructuring, there has been an increase in the number of cooperative projects in following: gold and polymetal mining industry, communications, transportation, meat and fish processing industry, and the development of biological resources.
Gold Mining. The Mayskoye golden ore deposit lies 280 kilometers south-east of Pevek. The exploration of the field has been completed. The ores are refractory and are represented by saturated sulfites and dynamometamorphism zones in rock mass of black shales. The average content of gold is 12 g/t. More than 70 percent of the gold is associated with pyrite and arsenopyrite.
Gravity and floatation concentration is considered to be effective, but the extracted concentrate must be specially enriched. Chukotka administration has sent delegations to Canada, Australia and South Africa looking for technology for refractory ore processing. In January 1999, the Chukotka administration plans to announce a tender for supply of technology for gold ore processing in the Mayskoye deposit.
Copper mining (the Peschanka copper field 150 kilometers south of Bilibino), tin reserves (Pyrkakayskoye deposit 80 kilometers east of Pevek), and oil and gas deposits in the Anadyrsky lowlands represent other areas for business cooperation.
Transportation. Due to specific climatic conditions of Chukotka, problems of transportation are considered to be crucial. As there are few roads in the region, air transport is of primary importance. Building of new roads, upgrading outdated aircraft, development of airports and seaports are major economic issues in Chukotka that require investment. Chukotka needs to replace aircraft, the AN-24 and the AN-26, for more modern versions.
Anadyr international terminal is another investment project. Chukotka is also in need of new aircraft and helicopters to operate in the Arctic conditions, and to deliver small and large cargoes. Of particular importance is the development of better motor transportation network for delovery of goods. In the Chukotka Autonomous Region, motor transport deliveries are carried out by ice and dirt roads which are built every year, and in most cases, they do not correspond to the provisions of the safety code. The time has come to build gravel roads which can be used all year round. They will provide access to large mineral deposits in operation, and deliver cargo to areas situated far from the sea.
Reindeer Herding. Since reindeer herding is an important branch of the Chukotka economy, technology for processing of reindeer skins, hard horns, endocrine, and ferments are of an interest to Chukotka. Since it is expensive to transport raw materials from rural communities to Anadyr, Chukotka needs new and small technology and equipment to slaughter and process reindeer, and multi-purpose equipment to dry velvet antlers, to process hard horns, endocrine, ferments, and to produce medical preparational units.
Marine Mammal Hunting. Marine mammal hunting is part of the traditional lifestyle of the indigenous population in coastal Chukotkan communities. Native peoples are provided with an annual quota to procure 169 whales, 10,000 ringed seals, and 3,000 walruses. Marine mammal by-products are used as food in fox ranches. Seal skins and fat may be utilized for consumer food production. Due to lack of funds, Chukchi are unable to buy technology for processing marine mammals and use them for production of consumer goods. Cold storage and processing plants have to be constructed in the region.
Fisheries. A larger part of the eastern coast of Chukotka is washed by the Bering Sea and in the north-west zone, a number of companies fish for more than a million tons of different types of seafood. The region catch is 2,000 tons of pollack and cod. The Chukotka regional administration plans to develop fisheries by setting up a fleet of medium tonnage fishing boats with fish processing technology, and constructing fish processing plants and a cold storage. The goal of the Chukotka administration is to increase the catch in the Anadyrsky Lagoon (present limit 4,000 tons).
The Seaweed Project. Another project planned by the Pevek administration is seaweed cultivation. Seafood has great potential as a food source as well as in the pharmaceutical industry.
Tourism. Tourism is almost non-existent but has a huge economic potential. However, hotels and almost all other branches of service industry are below international standards and require investment. In 1992 and 1993, groups of cruise tourists came from the U.S. city of Nome for "extreme tourism" to explore native culture and the beautiful nature of the region. Pevek administration underlined their interest in developing tourism in their region. Native art of local population could become another attraction to the region. Whale bone carving is a world-famous art of Uelen village in Chukotka, the farthest eastern inhabited point of the region. Whaleboat regatta and whale hunting in July are major attractions in Uelen and Lavrentiya villages. In the Chaunsky District, petroglyphs were discovered dated to 10,000 B.C. Chukotka officials noted that they should have in place, by the end of 1998 a new tourism law that will make this area more attractive to tourists.
However, since 1994, there has been no organized tourism in the area. The major reason for lack of tourism in the region is that tourist infrastructure is under developed, and there is no international class hotels, as mentioned above. However, long-term investments in tourism in Chukotka may represent opportunities for U.S. investors.
Imports of Food Products. There is currently little foreign investment in the region. Foreign trade is developing and includes mainly food and other imports from neighboring Alaska. However, import from the United States is slowly decreasing. Chukotka administration established a representative office in Seattle, WA. They expressed interest in continuing to import potatoes, meat and fruit from the United States as well as many other food products.
Chukotka administration recognizes the high quality of U.S. food products and admits that buying potatoes in Seattle is cheaper than in Vladivostok. Regional officials also mentioned that there are 15 kinds of U.S. potatoes well adapted to northern conditions. However, in 1998, Chukotka will be purchasing potatoes from Holland and other food products from Central Russia because of lack of business relations with U.S. companies.
Pevek administration will be interested in importing fruit juices and baby food from the United States. Pevek administration is not able to do prepayments and would like U.S. supplier to consider two-three month delayed payment upon sale of food products. Pevek officials also stated that they would like to purchase U.S.-made children clothes.
7. Contact Information:
Office of the Governor of the Chukotka
22 Lenin Street, Anadyr 686710, Russia
Phone (operator assistance is needed): 4-25-49
Alexander Nazarov, Governor of Chukotka
Phone: 4-25-83, 4-47-05
Igor Shishkin, Vice Governor
Fax: 4-24-66, 4-24-72
Alexander Barsukov, Vice Governor, Head of Real Estate Committee
Chukotka Autonomous Region Representative
Phone: 7 (095) 925-9513
Fax: 7 (095) 923-8624
Vladimir Vil'diaykin, First Vice Governor, Head of the Chukotka Administration Representative Office at the Government of Russia
The Chukotka Trade and Investment Office in Seattle
(non-profit entity organized to represent Chukotka)
Phone: (206) 624-6539
Fax: (206) 624-7679
Chukotsvyazinform Joint Stock Company (Anadyr)
Phone: 4-25-66, 4-26-41
Yuri Tuzov, General Director
Pevek City and the Chaunsky District
29, Obrucheva Ul., Pevek, Chukotka, 686610, Russia
Phone: 7 (42-749) 2-17-83
Fax: 7 (42-749) 2-21-42
Yuri Nikulin, Head of the Chaunsky District and Pevek City Administration
Council of Federation
Committee for the Northern Territories
26, B. Dmitrovka, Moscow, 103426, Russia
Phone: 7 (095) 292-5735
Fax: 7 (095) 926-6951
Maxim Danilov, Assistant to the Committee Chair
map chukotka (E)
Oil and Gas Reserves Marketable
Are Still Questionable But Already Marketable
After Roman Abramovich was elected governor of Chukotka (and during his election campaign) the Russian media was copiously speculating about the oil tycoon's actual interests in the Far East, allegedly huge oil and gas reserves of the Chukchi Peninsula. Almost all stories ended with one sad conclusion about the low reserves and poor quality of local hydrocarbons, which do not deserve to be developed. A closer look shows that prospects for the exploration and development of oil and gas reserves in the area are not as bad as they seem.
Full text available by request »»» © Mikhail Zhuravlev RusEnergy
groups against floating nuclear power plant
Earlier this year, the Centre of Environmental Policy of Russia and Greenpeace published a report about the expediency of the floating plant construction. The main conclusion is that floating nuclear power plants are dangerous and unacceptable from the environmental point of view as well as not profitable.
Proliferation of such plants will result in the
increase of the possibilities for obtaining fissile materials
could be used to make nuclear weapons, which would undermine
efforts. Floating nuclear power plants scattered around the world would
increase possibilities for international nuclear blackmailing and
Due to these facts the authors of the report suggest taking measures to stop such plans of the Russian Nuclear Ministry.
Some Reserve Estimates
Word to the specialists from trust Dal'morneftegeophysical, which one lay out the concrete data about exploration of oil gas resources of Chukotka. They assert(approve), that the geologic features of region allow to guess availability there of larger patterns, perspective on availability of oil and gas, than found out. The basic hopes search bundle thus to offshore exploration of Bering sea. A main body Anad’yr , Khatyr of basins, and also all Navarinskij basin lay outside a land, where looking ups was not undertaken - ever, although these zones are considered as continuation famous by the jumbo reserves Alaskan oil and gas province.
The Mineral Management Service of USA (US Mineral Management Service) conducted prospecting east part Long – Chukotka basin on boundary of the Russian economical zone in Bering sea and has estimated geological reserves in the studied region in 2-5 billion tons of conditional propellant. In next Navarin basin the same service predicts availability 160 mln tons of oil and 220 billion cubic metres of gas distillate. In April 1985 the Americans sold licenses for 24 leases in this basin for 150 mln, dollars - with a condition, that the works can begin only after Russia and USA will conduct demarcation of the zones on shelf. In 1990, demarcation was held, and the holders of the licenses have an opportunity to begin prospecting.
The forecasts and expectations
Under the forecasts of the Ministry of natural
the perspective initial reserves of hydrocarbons on continental shelf
Chukotka and on land are valued as follows (in conditional propellant):
while questionable, but trade in them is already possible Mikhail Shuravlev [from Russian]
After election of Roman Abramovich governor of Chukotka (and during his campaign) the Russian mass media were not bought up on the gamble that original concern of the oil magnate on Far East appears to be the hypothetical oil and gas resources of the Chukotka peninsula. The deduction, however, was made that poor quality hydrocarbons there were not enough to justify development. At the same time, analysis that is more steadfast demonstrates that with prospecting outlooks and production activity of hydrocarbons in that region is not at all as pitiable as it seems.
The business concerns of the new governor of
are not confined to Sibneft, which is not too active working on oil
Yamal-Nenets Autonomous District. If to trust economic publications -
to Roman Arkad'evich treasurer of the Yeltsin family - creator of
aluminum acquired the large block of Gorkov car factory shares, and
negotiations of KutiiSaha Diamonds. At such breadth of coverage,
post on edge Ojkumeny seems simply by oligarch whim, which without him
has not so dearly to warm and feed during campaign some thousand voters
-is quite within the power of such a large financial business
Date of the publication: January 18, 2001.
Nevertheless, oil and gas concerns on Chukotka are loPEVEK The location place for NTPP primary unit is Pevek harbour of Chaunsky region, Chukotsky autonomous district. Chukotsky autonomous district is the regionoked through the messages of the Moscow press on delivery of Abramovich machinery's for oil extracting in a settlement of Hantyrka on standardization have appeared a bluff. Business geologists for a long time already suspect availability of solid hydrocarbon reserves on shelf around the peninsula, although any prospecting of that are was never conducted.
Both Geologic and geophysical exploration on oil and gas was conducted only on continental part of Chukotka peninsula from early 1960s. On the data of the Ministry of natural resources of Russian Federation, some tens search and parametric wells were drilled there and seismic operations are held. The explorers revealed four oilfields and gas in the Anadyrsk basin, which technically speaking suited developments. Nevertheless, the small sizes of reserves did not justify expenditures, even in the epoch of central budgeting, and bulk of ores has remained untouched. In particular, Westlake gas field in 100 km from Anadyrsk and small petroleum deposits in 130 kms from it. In the beginning and middle 1990s, the representative of Chukotka even committed to conduct tender on these fields, but nobody from the large companies exhibited to them any practical concern.
It is interesting, that the state programs designed in mid-1990s envisioned beginning of commercial hydrocarbon development of Chukotka. For 2020 it planned to mine there 82 mln of tons of oil annually, 9 mln of tons of a condensate and 336 billion of cubic metres of gas.
There would be investors, and the leases will be the Russian legislation does not prevent areal authorities to exhibit on a tender small oilfields and gas. In this respect, Abramovich is quite capable to begin to act on his own authority. As to continental shelf to dispose of its mineral reserves, only the federal authority has the right. However provincial representative can very much affect acceptance of such decisions.
First, it has the right (in tandem with the Ministry of natural resources or its domestic representative) to grant resolutions to geophysical and geologic studies without licenses, under annual contracts. This opportunity authorities of Sakhalin, Khabarovsk territory and Magadan area use widely, from blagosloveniya which one trust Dal'morneftegeophysical together with Norwegian firm PGS conducting seismic surveys on Far East shelf.
Secondly, the federal government at budgeting tenders on leases of continental shelf proceeds, as a rule, not from the own plans in the regard of the given leases, but from availability of the investors wishing to undertake it. Such tenders can be organized under the initiative of onsite authorities, which are capable to introduce a set of the potential participants to the government. If even part of hearings about influencing Abramovich in corridors of the Moscow authority corresponds, to true to open campaign for licensing leases in Bering sea for example the Americans will not make the special work.
It is possible, that soon we will become witnesses
such activity. Although Russian geologists consider the harsh climatic
and geological conditions of Chukotka, and present level of technical
there, would allow to extract from a mineral resources no more than
% of initial reserves of oil and gas potential of region. Multiplied on
business grasp the new Chukotka governor inspires of optimism and is
to attract in region of the serious Russian and foreign investors.
Date of the publication: January 18, 2001.
Potential of Shallow-Water areas of Russian Arctic
Internet Geology News Letter No. 96, May 7, 2001
The belt of shallow water directly adjacent to a shore line of a marine basin is designated as a "transition zone". It has long been inaccessible for marine geophysical surveys and onshore study. As a consequence the correlation of offshore and onshore information depended to a great extent on remote sensing methods, largely magnetic surveys. For this reason these transition zones have remained a blank spot on many maps of oil-gas potential.
Many onshore oil-gas areas located close to marine basins extend offshore. Such shallow-water zones are prime targets because extrapolation from the onshore is not that much of a problem. Even small fields may be economic. The transition zones include coastal marshes, embayments, banks, river deltas, shallow- water reefs, broad tidal zones, littoral zones, and shallow-water coastal sectors, where water depth is generally less than 10-15 m. Typical of all of these are conditions that are not favorable for seismic surveying.
Some provinces, regions, and fields extend into transition zones. Such fields as Kharasavey in Yamal and Medyn in the Pechora Lowland are divided by the shore line into almost equal parts. The zone of the Russian Shelf with shallow water depths of 0-20 m extends over an area of 570,000 sq km, and the Arctic Shelf is assessed to contain up to 25 percent of the total Arctic offshore resources.
In the west of the Arctic Shelf are two large oil-gas provinces, the transition zones of which have high potential. One of these is the broad shallow-water area adjacent to the Pechora Lowland and Kolguyev Island. Traps there are small and pay zones have a wide stratigraphic range. Density of predicted resources of individual sectors of this transition zone is commensurate with maximum values of resources of well studied onshore structures. The shallow-water zone of the Mezen depression in the south of the Barents Sea may also offer good targets.
Another broad favorable belt of shallow water is in the Kara Sea. This is a direct continuation of the West Siberian province. A whole series of large fields extend offshore from Yamal and Gyda Peninsulas. In spite of relatively simple and well studied geology, geophysical investigation of these transition zones is difficult.
are known also in the eastern Arctic Sea, but they have received
little study. The Ust'-Khatanga and Ust'-Lena shallow-water areas
are the most favorable. The latter is located on a
of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and conditions are similar to those of
California. The entire Yano-Indigirka Lowland along with a
broad belt of shallow water is favorable; however, its
is decades away. Taken from Verba and others, 2000; digested in
Geology, vol. 35, no. 3, one map, in preparation. Copyright 2001
James Clarke. Earlier News Letters are available at our web
This News Letter is distributed without charge in the interest of
science of petroleum geology. To be added to the mailing
please send your e-mail address to: