Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Russia to run out of oil in 50 years, gas in 75 years - scientist
MOSCOW, September 24 (RIA Novosti) - Russia will run out of crude oil reserves in 50 years, and the country's natural gas will be depleted in 75 years, a geologist specializing in oil production said Monday. Yevgeny Kozlovsky, who served as geology minister in the Soviet Union, said the forecast was based on predicted production levels and the size of current reserves, including possible new finds. The scientist, who heads a department at the Russian State Geological Prospecting University, said investment in prospecting totaling at least 50 billion rubles ($2 billion) was needed annually to increase reserves, as well as highly-skilled staff capable of using the funds effectively. "This is a question of allocations and staff," he said. Kozlovsky said that the post-Soviet era has not brought any new major discoveries, as there are no incentives for companies to invest in prospecting. He proposed that laws be approved to grant companies the right to develop deposits they have discovered. Kozlovsky also urged for favorable tax conditions to be introduced for companies developing problematic deposits. He said that Russia could potentially produce an additional 150 million metric tons of oil (1 billion barrels) annually.