Shale Oil Can Revolutionize Energy Markets, Hit Russian Exports
In a new report by PricewaterhouseCoopers, “Shale oil: the next energy revolution,” the global consulting group estimates that US shale oil production has grown fivefold in 2004-2011 to 553,000 bpd. US oil imports are shrinking while its estimates of shale oil reserves are growing rapidly.
BP estimates that the shale boom will make the United States a leading oil producer within a decade and break its dependence on crude imports by 2030.
Shale oil will not only meet the country’s domestic demand but will enable it to become an exporter, said Olivier Lazare, head of Shell's Russian operation.
Domestic oil prices in the United States are already below global indices, according to PwC.
According to BP estimates, until 2020 global oil production will only increase through unconventional resources such as heavy oil, oil sands, shale and biofuels. Worldwide shale oil production could soar to 14 million bpd over the coming decades and account for 12 percent of global oil supplies by 2035 (up from only 1 percent currently), the PwC report says.
If OPEC agrees to cut supplies to support prices, oil will fall to $100 per barrel, compared to the EIA’s projection of $127-$133 per barrel, which assumes low levels of shale oil production. However, if the OPEC nations fail to reach agreement, it could plummet to $83.
This could actually benefit the global economy as world GDP would rise by 2.3-3.7 percent by 2035, expanding the global economy by $1.7 to $2.7 trillion per year. But major exporters such as Russia and the Middle East countries are facing significant losses in the long term unless they start developing their own shale reserves.
The US has seen a technological breakthrough in recent years, said Denis Borisov from the Ernst & Young Oil & Gas Center in Moscow. However, he does not believe the shale oil revolution is comparable to the gas revolution in terms of its scale and influence on the global balance of supply and demand or prices. A shale boom would require several favorable prerequisites. The development of shale resources is growing slowly outside the US due to imperfect legislation, underdeveloped infrastructure and logistics, and lack of the required skills and technologies. Other countries are unlikely to begin pilot production before 2015 or produce more than 1 million bpd by 2018.
At this stage, the shale oil revolution is almost impossible to export outside the US, except perhaps to Canada, which also has the required combination of geological resources, liberal regulations, private ownership of subsoil assets, cheap financing, advanced technologies and a well-developed oil and gas transport infrastructure.
Russia has some potential for difficult oil production, Borisov notes: it may boost output to 10% percent of the total oil production by 2025, if a favorable tax environment is created.
Rogozin Warns Prime Minister of Asteroid Threat
In a letter to Prime Minister Medvedev, his deputy Dmitry Rogozin suggests developing an international asteroid avoidance system.
There are currently two asteroids, Rogozin writes, that pose a particular threat to Earth. The first threat is 99942 Apophis, previously known as 2004 MN4, which will fly by in close proximity to our planet in 2029 and may even strike it in 2036. Another asteroid, named 2011АС5, will pass by Earth at a distance of 2,000 km.
The deputy prime minister proposes that the military industry commission and the government work out a strategy for an international asteroid impact prevention system to avoid catastrophes.
The Federal Space Agency was unable to detect the asteroid that fell in Chelyabinsk on February 15. It is designed to identify dangerous space debris in satellite orbits at a range of 200 km to 5,000 km from Earth.
“The military radars in both Russia and the US that observe space are not equipped to discover objects of this type,” stresses Rogozin in his letter.
Asteroid avoidance would require global resources and the collective scientific and technical capabilities of Russia, the US and other leaders in the space industry. Such cooperation could also ease competition between Russian and American missile defense systems.
American shuttles and satellites are fitted with powerful space telescopes while Russia is restricted to ground telescopes to monitor the skies.
“For security purposes, Russia requires at least three optical telescopes with lenses of two meters and larger in diameter and real-time data processing,” says Lidiya Rykhlova of the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Astronomy Institute.
Should such a telescope be produced, astronomers will be able to work out an appropriate plan to prevent threats. Dangerous space objects could be destroyed or deflected.
Since 1998, the US has spent around $20mln a year to sponsor its planetary defense program.
If the two countries join forces against the asteroid threat, it would take away the US monopoly on monitoring space debris and using it for political purposes, believes Anatoly Zaitsev, CEO of the Center for the Planetary Defense non-profit partnership.
“If a flying asteroid poses no threat to the US or its partners, it may just be ignored. This is exactly what happened five years ago when the Americans detected an asteroid that could have collided with Earth. The asteroid passed by our planet but the fact that this threat went unreported speaks for itself,” says Zaitsev.
The expert adds that Russia does have viable solutions to offer. One of them is Zenit, a Russian-Ukrainian space launch vehicle capable of preventing threats beyond the Moon's orbit. It takes only 90 minutes to prepare for launch, as opposed to American shuttles that take weeks to get ready.
Zaitsev is going to send Dmitry Rogozin the project for protecting Earth from asteroids, comets and meteorites developed in his center.
Ramzan Kadyrov Posts Personal Photos Online
The head of Chechnya has opened an account (kadyrov_95) on Instagram. He has placed more than 80 of his images there already. They show him with members of his family and prominent public and political leaders of Russia and other countries.
There are images depicting his meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev, President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, Sheikh Ahmad bin Mohammed Al Khazraji and many other prominent figures.
You can also find a large selection of the Chechen leader’s personal photos, like one showing a dinner given by his mother Aimani or a visit to the dentist.
“I have just left the Central Dental Clinic. The conditions there and the staff are among the best. I had my teeth inspected and had a little treatment. They told me I have excellent teeth and gave me a clean bill of health,” the head of Chechnya wrote in one of his entries on Instagram.
“Mother must be thanked for the dinner, the food was delicious. Now I must go back to work,” reads an entry made after a hearty lunch.
Ramzan Kadyrov is even constantly commenting on entries posted by his readers.
It is worth recalling that Ramzan Kadyrov’s unofficial account, run by his assistant – alihan777 – was a great hit on Instagram.
This page featured even more unusual photos of the Chechen leader. For example, pictures showing Ramzan Kadyrov with animals: a tiger cub, a fawn or a horse, or with Deputy Prime Minister Vladislav Surkov.
The unofficial site was immediately taken off when Ramzan Kadyrov’s official Instagram made its appearance. Only a few of the old pictures reappeared in his new account kadyrov95.
The Chechen leader also writes a micro blog on Twitter (@RKadyrov), which is read by over 25,000 people. Ramzan Kadyrov has made 270 entries. He has nothing to do with any other pages on social networks, his press service says.
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