Russia seeks cash from wasted methane gas

Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov has called for new measures to increase the commercial use of methane gas from oil production. It comes after 17 out of 61 billion cubic meters was flared, or simply burned off, in 2007.

The abolition of taxes on production and the liberalisation of methane prices have not worked as well as hoped and the Prime Minister says more is needed, to see the government’s target of 95% usage met.

“The causes are insufficient investment activity by the oil companies themselves in this direction, an acute shortage of processing capacity, problems with supplying companies with metering equipment, and issues that are systemic in nature, access to electricity and gas networks, for instance,” pointed out Zubkov.

Meanwhile Russia`s biggest oil company Rosneft has announced it will spend more then $US2 BLN to meet the government’s 2011 target.

“This problem has not been solved for years and years. Rosneft has worked out a special program to switch to 95% associated gas utilisation. We need to build around five electricity stations to refine the oil. There is a lot to do in terms of infrastructure and we are working on that,” confirmed Rosneft’s president Sergey Bogdanchikov.