MOSCOW, January 24 (RIA Novosti) - The growth of natural gas reserves in Russia exceeded output for the first time since 2000, hitting 110%, while oil reserves grew 60% in 2005, the Federal Agency for the Management of Mineral Resources said Monday. "The estimated output in 2005 was: oil and condensate - 470 million metric tons [about 9.4 million barrels per day], gas - 600 billion cubic meters," the agency said in a statement. Natural gas reserves grew by 660 bln cu m, and oil reserves by 285 million metric tons [about 5.7 million bbl/d].
Federal budget expenditures on oil and gas prospecting totaled 4.47 billion rubles ($159 million) in 2005 against 2.25 billion rubles ($80 million) in 2004, the agency said.
Most of the prospecting work was conducted in eastern and western Siberia, in the Arctic seas and in the Okhotsk, Caspian, Azov and Black seas.
According to the agency, the bulk of additional natural gas reserves was discovered through prospecting conducted by energy giant Gazprom at the Shtokman deposit in the Barents Sea, by the state-run Rosneft oil company at Vankor (Krasnoyarsk Territory) and Priobskoye fields (the Khanty-Mansiisk Autonomous Area), and by LUKoil also in Khanty-Mansiisk.
"The federal expenditures on prospecting [in 2006] will increase by 60% to 7.32 billion rubles ($261 million)," the statement said.