Russian Natural Resources Ministry to study shale gas

The Russian Natural Resources and Environment Ministry will carry out an analysis and geological study of resources and reserves in non-traditional gas deposits, including shale gas.

There is a lot of focus on extraction of shale oil and gas in the mineral material base preservation program, which was drafted by the Natural Resources Ministry. The document will be discussed at a government session Thursday.

The ministry says that studying this issue is necessary in order to understand the potential for developing such deposits.

"With the aim of expanding the mineral and raw materials base of hydrocarbon materials and to support the level of hydrocarbon extraction in the future through non-traditional sources, there will be work to evaluate resources and reserves of shale gas, gas hydrates and methane from coal seams, particularly in regions with insufficient oil and gas," the program draft says.

"In order to develop shale gas an analysis of Russia's shale deposits is envisaged and the development of methods for revealing gas filled zones, their classification, D1 resource evaluation, C1+C2 reserve categories and the development of technologies for extracting shale gas. In addition, development of shale gas deposits requires rational selection of optimum experimental and industrially developed facilities and a forecast on possible production volumes taking into account the impact on the environment," the document says.

The ministry says in the program that there are plans to improve methods for diagnosing such reserves and to evaluate their real value.

The implementation of the program is expected to lead to an increase in D1 shale gas resources of 5 trillion cubic meters, and for C1 reserves - 1.5 trillion cubic meters. D1 gas hydrate reserves are expected to climb by 2 trillion cubic meters and D1 methane from coal seams - 2 trillion and C1 reserves by 1.1 trillion cubic meters.

The ministry says Gazprom, Rosneft and SUEK will be involved in studying the non-traditional sources of hydrocarbon materials.

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