| KHANTY-MANSIYSK, Russia, March 13
KHANTY-MANSIYSK, Russia, March 13 Russia's oil
Eldorado in West Siberia is nowhere near depletion, despite some
pessimism from analysts, and there are enough reserves for
steady output through 2020, a regional governor told Reuters.
Oil output in Russia's resource-rich Khanty Mansiysk
Autonomous District, a large stretch of western Siberia, will
have daily output of around 5.6 million barrels per day, around
three-fifths of Russia's current total, throughout the next
decade, the district's governor Alexander Filipenko said.
That means Russia is in no mood to cede its spot as the
world's second-largest oil exporter at a time of record high
global prices, although Filipenko believes economic
diversification is task number one for his frozen Siberian
"We should produce somewhere in the area of 280 million
tonnes of oil (per year or 5.6 million bpd), and maybe grow a
little through 2010 if we actively start stimulating further oil
production, so that by 2020 we will have two development
scenarios," Filipenko told Reuters.
Russian oil output has been stagnant over the last year
after big spikes earlier this decade. Analysts say West Siberian
reserves, which have been producing since the early 1970s, are
Major oil projects in East Siberia, which may potentially
replace West Siberia as Russia's core production region, are
being delayed due to high capital costs and oil firms'
complaints that the government is taxing away all the profits.
Filipenko predicted two depletion scenarios after 2020, one
foreseeing an oil production drop to 220-230 tonnes annually,
the other a decline to a more modest 260-270. Neither case, the
governor said, was likely to affect income to the region.
"If we take into consideration that oil has a tendency for
price growth, then for the territory that does not figure
critically," Filipenko said.
"Our main goal for today is to transform the economic
structure in such a way that we can lessen our dependence on
just the oil business," he added.
The comment echoes the standard line of President Vladimir
Putin who has repeatedly called for the diversification of the
Last month, Putin, who will leave office in May, named
economic diversification, pension reform and better governance
among the top priorities of his successor Dmitry Medvedev. Putin
will stay on as prime minister under Medvedev.
Rising oil prices have made Russia's budget revenues 70
percent dependant on energy exports compared to 50 percent a few
Filipenko said the current non-oil sector in the Khanty
Mansiysk Autonomous District, 2,700 kilometres (1600 miles)
northeast of Moscow, accounts for about 10 percent of the
region's gross domestic product.
"But that 10 percent today is about 270 billion roubles
($11.32 billion). What is that? That's approximately 4-5 times
the average Russian gross regional product," he said.
Filipenko said power generation plants, lumber production
and construction were all heavy contributors to Khanty
Mansiysk's non-oil sector growth.
(Additional reporting by Dmitry Zhdannikov; editing by James