Russian Ministry of Energy won't allow Rosneft and Novatek to export gas

Monopoly on the export of Russian gas belongs to Gazprom, Energy Minister Alexander Novak said.
The question of the cancellation of Gazprom's monopoly on gas export via pipelines is not currently being considered, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said in an interview with RBC TV: "We discussed [the question of export liberalization], we have now conceptually decided to maintain this position ". The government decided to "maintain a single export channel, which would have given Russia, the Russian budget, and pipeline gas at this time," the minister specified.

Since 2006, when the Law "On Gas Export" was adopted, and before the end of 2013, Gazprom was the only gas supplier outside of Russia. Under pressure from independent companies in December 2013, gas exports were partially liberalized. In the form of LNG, it was allowed to export to other state-owned companies (if they liquefy gas produced on the shelf) and independent producers, provided that they have already obtained a license to develop gas fields with the possibility of building a LNG plant there. Only exclusive access to export pipelines remained for Gazprom. Attempts to encroach on this monopoly in the last few years have occurred with an enviable periodicity.

The most active in this issue are Rosneft and Novatek. In March 2015, Leonid Mikhelson, Chairman of the Board of Novatek, asked President Vladimir Putin to export gas to Europe under an agreement with Gazprom Export.

"Rosneft" tried to book in advance access to the yet-built "Force of Siberia", and in the fall of 2016 concluded with BP a memorandum on possible deliveries of up to 20 billion cubic meters. m. In case this opportunity arises. Gazprom's position on this issue in early June was indicated by the deputy chairman of the company's board, Alexander Medvedev: "There is no gas deficit to satisfy our consumers in Europe. We can, as I said, immediately add 100-odd billion billion cubic meters by turning the crane. Therefore, if the UK needs gas, we can also put it there. " The opportunity to act as an intermediary in the supply of foreign gas in Gazprom, according to Medvedev, was also not considered and there is no point in seeing this. "I do not see any economic sense in this, not even for Gazprom, but for the Russian state," he said.

The response from Rosneft came a few weeks later. On June 30, on the day of the annual meeting of Gazprom shareholders, Rosneft's vice-president Vlad Rusakova announced an agreement with BP and Rosneft's desire to obtain permission to export at least as an "experiment." In mid-July, the issue of liberalizing gas exports was discussed by the interdepartmental commission under the Russian Security Council, which was attended by representatives of Novatek and Rosneft, but not Gazprom. In August, Rusakova confirmed that to obtain the right to supply BP to 10 billion cubic meters. m of gas per year Rosneft is working with Russian state bodies. In parallel with the request to review the position on access to the "Force of Siberia", independent gas producers in Yakutia came out.

On the full liberalization of exports, it did not go - mostly discussed different forms of a single channel under state control, says Tatyana Mitrov, director of the Skolkovo business school energy center. This decision of the government was predictable. "At the core of the government's decision is the fear of undermining export earnings in the face of growing competition," Mitrova said. "From the point of view of budget revenues, fluctuations in gas prices and geopolitical relationships with large buyers are more significant than the form of export organization." But independent producers will continue pressure on Gazprom, and a return to the issue of liberalization is inevitable, she believes. "For them, exports are the only way to ensure revenue growth in the conditions of stagnation of the domestic market," she concludes.