James Henderson

Director, Natural Gas Research Programme

James Henderson suceeded Howard Rogers as Director of the Natural Gas Research Programme in October 2016 having joined the institute in 2010 as Senior Research Fellow contributing works for the Gas and Oil Programmes covering Russia and CIS issues as well as global energy matters that affect the region.

James Henderson has been analysing the Russian oil and gas industry for the past 20 years. Having been Head of Energy for Wood Mackenzie Consultants in the mid-1990s he moved to Moscow as Head of Oil & Gas Research for Renaissance Capital in 1997, and in 1999 became Head of Equity Research. Having returned to the UK in 2002 he became Head of Russia at Lambert Energy Advisory while also studying for his doctoral thesis on partnership in the Russian oil and gas industry at the University of London, which he completed in 2010.

He is a BP Professor of Energy at the Skolkovo Management School in Moscow and lectures on energy issues at a number of universities in Europe. His publications include numerous papers on the Russian oil and gas sector, a 2010 book entitled “Non-Gazprom Gas Producers in Russia”, the co-editing of “The Russian Gas Matrix: How Markets are Driving Change” for OIES and the recently published “International Partnership in Russia” .

Areas of Expertise
Russian Oil & Gas Sector, Corporate and Strategic Analysis of Russian Oil & Gas Companies, Foreign investment in Russian Oil & Gas Sector, Partnership and joint ventures in “Weak State” environments.

Non OIES publications >>

Contact

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                    [post_content] => This paper, carried out as a joint piece of research by OIES and ERI RAS (the Energy Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences) assesses the prospects for Russian oil production to 2020 and beyond, and suggests that the history of steady growth seen over the past decade is set to continue. Brownfield decline is being actively managed, a portfolio of greenfields has and is being developed which can more than compensate for the decline in mature assets and in the longer-term regions such as the offshore, East Siberia and tight oil offer significant upside. The recent agreement to cut overall production in H1 2016 will create a short-term brake on growth, but the average for 2017 should still be almost 2% higher than for 2016. Meanwhile, sanctions are continuing to affect the use of technology for some of Russia’s harder to develop reserves. Nevertheless, our analysis on both a corporate and regional level suggests that, barring another collapse in the oil price or a further tightening of sanctions, the outlook for Russian oil production over the next few years remains positive.

Podcast with James Henderson

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                    [post_title] => Russian Oil Production Outlook to 2020
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                    [post_content] => Although relations between Russia and Saudi Arabia have improved since the debacle in Doha in April 2016, it is clear that both sides will be watching each other carefully over the next few months. The fact that both have made their own implementation of a production cut dependent on the performance of the other suggests that trust has not been fully restored. Indeed, both sides have reason to be cautious. OPEC’s record of compliance with quotas is weak, and Russia also has a poor record of fulfilling any promises to cooperate with OPEC. Having said this, some form of Russian output restraint is conceivable. It may be the case that Russia is expecting a flattening of output in the first half of 2017 in any case, having pushed very hard to maximise output by the end of 2016. It is even possible that, despite the difficulty of sharing a production cut among the various Russian oil companies, drilling could be slowed and older fields could be allowed to decline slightly more rapidly for a period of time, even as new field developments continue to progress. This could produce a result approximating to a production cut in some form. Furthermore, given Rosneft’s financial constraints after a recent spending spree, it may also be the case that the owner of more than 40% of Russia’s oil production may be keen to ease its upstream spending in the short-term. However, the speed of any decline must be uncertain, and furthermore it must be likely that debates over “technical issues”, the meaning of the phrase “gradual decline”, the need for a “government order” and the allocation of “proportional cuts” will drag the process out well into the first quarter of 2017, and perhaps even to the second quarter. Nevertheless, even if a Russian output cut or freeze only results in production of 11 mb/d for the first half of 2017, this could still provide a result that is below market expectations for the year as a whole and thus could be supportive of the oil price. Indeed, this outcome may be exactly what Russia is aiming for. Enough to suggest that oil market rebalancing is a realistic hope in 2017, but not so much as to undermine the progress of the Russian oil sector in establishing levels of average annual production at a post-Soviet high.
                    [post_title] => Room for cynicism and hope in Russia's deal with OPEC
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                    [post_content] => This paper addresses the expanding energy cooperation between Russia and China in the context of the political and commercial relationship between the two countries. It assesses progress during the post-Soviet era, but focuses especially on the past two years since sanctions were imposed on Russia by the US and the EU. It attempts to analyse the balance of bargaining power between the two countries via a detailed analysis of the various oil, gas, coal and power sector deals that have taken place, and assesses whether Russia's pivot to Asia is moving as smoothly as had been hoped by the Kremlin when the first major gas export deal with China was signed in May 2014. The paper continues the series of analyses of Russia's hydrocarbon export strategy that has been published over the past two years, and also deepens the OIES output on China and its energy import strategy. Furthermore, it aims to contribute to an understanding of the balance of Russia's political and commercial ambitions, which is of vital relevance to any analysis of the country's future relations with the global energy economy.

Executive Summary
                    [post_title] => Energy Relations between Russia and China: Playing Chess with the Dragon
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                    [post_content] => The accord reached by Saudi Arabia and Russia, along with Qatar and Venezuela, in Doha on February 16th has been widely seen as effectively an agreement to do nothing. The four countries have accepted a freeze in production based on January 2016 levels, but for most of them (with the exception of Saudi Arabia) this effectively means the ability to maintain oil output at or near full capacity. The impact on the oil market balance will be minimal, especially in the short term. Furthermore, significant caveats were included in the Doha agreement, in particular that it would only take effect if other OPEC and non-OPEC countries agree to co-operate. Saudi oil minister Al-Naimi also added that his country would ‘continue to satisfy customer demand’ for oil. Indeed, the reaction of the oil market, which saw prices rise by more than 10% in anticipation of the meeting but then fall back by over half that amount after its conclusion, underlined the ostensibly disappointing outcome. However, despite the minimal impact of the deal on market balances, the reaching of an accord between the largest OPEC and non-OPEC producers does suggest some interesting conclusions for the oil market over the next few months, as subtle shifts in negotiating tactics have started to emerge.
                    [post_title] => Saudi-Russia Production Accord - The Freeze Before the Thaw?
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                    [post_content] => On Wednesday January 27th Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak met with a group of Russian oil companies to discuss the domestic and global energy markets, following which he announced that Russia would be prepared to discuss an output cut of 3-5% at a meeting with OPEC in February. On the face of it this would seem to imply that Russia might reduce production by 300,000-500,000 b/d, and indeed the immediate reaction of the oil market suggested that some credibility had been given to the statement as the oil price surged by 8% in the immediate aftermath of the comments. However, subsequent comments by other Russian and OPEC observers, combined with the history of Russia’s relationship with OPEC, which has achieved little of substance, suggests that an agreement is a long way from being concluded and has limited chances of success. A more interesting conclusion is that Russia, perhaps not surprisingly, has revealed its growing economic and corporate desperation to see oil prices rise.
                    [post_title] => Russia and OPEC - Uneasy Partners
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                    [post_content] => Gazprom's pivot to Asia has stalled and it must now continue to focus on Europe as its key export market. However, stagnant demand and increasing availability of LNG supply are set to put the company's market share under pressure from 2016. To date Gazprom has responded to competitive threats by making reactive adjustments to its pricing methodology and contract structures, but if it is to defend its export volumes in future it may have to take a more proactive stance. This Comment discusses the competitive position of Russian gas in a new lower price environment and examines whether a more actively competitive strategy can benefit both Gazprom and the Russian government in the short and long term. From a number of commercial and political perspectives the logical commercial answer could be yes, but only if Gazprom adopts a new contract model and also commits to trading on European hubs at spot prices in a more wholehearted fashion. Evidence for gradual moves in this direction are emerging and could accelerate in 2016, and although we do not expect Gazprom to actively catalyse a price war we do believe that market forces could lead to this outcome as a logical conclusion for a low-cost producer with significant supply flexibility.
                    [post_title] => Gazprom - Is 2016 the Year for a Change of Pricing Strategy in Europe?
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                    [post_content] => Gas exports have historically provided a foundation of economic and political strength for Russia and a source of significant revenues for its leading gas company, Gazprom. However, lower commodity prices, the imposition of sanctions on Russia in light of the Ukraine crisis, lower gas demand in Europe, the EU’s desire to diversify away from Russian gas and increasing competition from new global LNG supply are presenting multiple challenges. A search for new markets in Asia, and especially China, has begun, but is currently not progressing as fast as Russia would have hoped, while domestically Gazprom’s position is being challenged by third parties who are keen to break the company’s export monopoly.

This paper, jointly authored by James Henderson and Tatiana Mitrova, examines the emerging trends in Russia’s export strategy, identifying the key political drivers as well as the commercial factors that are influencing policy making. It analyses the catalysts behind Russia’s “pivot to Asia” in the gas sector, assesses the likelihood of this strategy being a success and argues that Europe will remain of vital importance as a major market for Russian gas for the foreseeable future. In light of this, the paper also examines Gazprom’s evolving gas marketing strategy and asks whether the company is adapting to the changes in European regulation and legislation in a positive manner. It considers the competitive position of Russian gas in Europe and Asia, delivered both by pipeline and by potential new LNG projects, and argues that Russian gas can have a pivotal role in both markets as its cost of supply is relatively low. Indeed, although it would currently appear that Gazprom’s strategy is being somewhat improvised in reaction to political and commercial events, the authors’ conclude that the company is gradually edging towards a more market-based outlook that could ultimately allow it to prosper even in a more competitive global gas market. It will need to continue this trend if it is to fend off competition from expanding global LNG supply but also from domestic competitors such as Novatek and Rosneft, who are keen to provide their own solutions to the challenges facing Russia’s gas export business.

Executive Summary
                    [post_title] => The Political and Commercial Dynamics of Russia's Gas Export Strategy
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                    [post_content] => This paper analyses the fundamental drivers of Russian oil production in the current low oil price environment, highlighting a number of dichotomies currently at work. The low oil price has forced Russian oil companies to cut dollar expenditure and to re-assess their investment strategies, apparently putting oil production and exports at risk. However, the impact of rouble devaluation and changes in the fiscal regime can help to offset these negative factors. US and EU sanctions have restricted access to technology and finance, but import substitution and a search for alternative sources of funding can start to redress these problems. New field developments are being delayed, but a number of projects are already underway that can help to keep production flat in 2015. Arctic and tight oil projects have been undermined by sanctions but this has caused the Russian industry to re-focus on arguably more economic assets in core regions. Finally, even if production does remain flat or even decline slightly, exports may continue to grow as domestic refineries reduce throughput due to recent tax changes that disadvantage production of fuel oil.

Executive Summary
                    [post_title] => Key Determinants for the Future of Russian Oil Production and Exports
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                    [post_content] => During President Putin’s visit to Beijing in November 2014 Gazprom and CNPC signed a memorandum of understanding concerning the export of gas to China via the so-called “western route” via the Russian republic of Altai. The announcement was hailed by Russia as another example of its shift towards Asia as a diversification of its traditional gas export business in the West.

This has important implications not only for Russia and China, but also for all the other potential suppliers of gas, and especially LNG, into North-East Asia. Confirmation that China could import up to 68bcma of Russian gas starting from 2019 would create a significant dent in the country’s potential LNG import requirement from 2020, increasing the competition between the planned sources of supply that are being constructed and planned over the next 5-10 years. Despite remaining doubts as to whether both Russia – China pipeline deals proceed to completion, it would appear that LNG suppliers are right to be concerned, as there is real commercial as well as political logic for significant Russian gas to flow south into the world’s fastest growing gas market.

From a Chinese perspective, growing gas demand, uncertainty over some of its existing sources of supply, a desire to create more competition with Central Asian gas and the one-off nature of the opportunity to negotiate with Russia from a position of exceptional bargaining strength mean that an Altai deal is also likely to make sense. There may be some concern over the need for more Russian gas, with the possibility that total supply of 68bcma (the combined capacity of the Power of Siberia and Altai pipelines) could account for as much as one third of total Chinese imports by 2030. However, any potential security of supply threat is offset by the fact that the Russian contribution to overall Chinese gas consumption would be much lower, at around 13%, while the share of gas in the China’s total energy balance is estimated to remain below 10% at that date.

Overall, then, the potential for a deal on exports via the Altai pipeline appears to have significant commercial and political logic. If a deal is signed, substantial problems will still remain, not the least of which will be Gazprom’s ability to raise the money needed to build the pipeline given its current inability to access western capital markets. Nevertheless, the impact of the signing of an Altai deal alone could have a significant impact on the ambitions of companies planning LNG projects that are also targeting the Chinese market, and as such the continuing discussions will require attentive observation over the next 12 months.
                    [post_title] => The Commercial and Political Logic for the Altai Pipeline
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                    [post_date] => 2014-11-04 13:22:27
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2014-11-04 13:22:27
                    [post_content] => The role of the Arctic region in global petroleum supply over the next decades is becoming a subject of increasing interest as the potential of the region’s geology is revealed and the shrinking of the ice cap makes drilling an increasingly feasible activity. Nevertheless, significant concerns remain, not least the potential impact of any hydrocarbon E&P activity in an environmentally sensitive region. In addition, the lack of existing infrastructure and the likely high cost of any development in geographically remote and climatically harsh conditions mean that the economics of any new project will depend to a large extent on the size of discoveries and the oil price, which, in turn, will be impacted by the development of other sources of oil supply (for example, US unconventional oil) and alternative energies. As a result, although increased activity in a number of Arctic countries suggests that the region could become a major source of future oil supply, there are a number of challenges – including the impact of sanctions resulting from the Ukraine crisis – to be met before this potential can be realized.

The objective of this paper is to provide an updated overview of offshore oil and gas developments in the Arctic and to discuss the potential for large-scale development of the region as a petroleum province over the next 20-30 years, thereby providing a starting point for future production estimates and for analyzing how relevant such estimates may be for global oil (and gas) markets. The paper argues that the most likely Arctic offshore areas to be developed first are the Barents Sea and the Kara Sea but that various factors – political, commercial, technological and environmental – have the potential to hamper petroleum development, particularly if the conflict between Russia and the international community continues to escalate, as partnership will be critical if the Arctic resources of the country with the largest geography in the region are to be developed successfully.

Executive Summary
                    [post_title] => The Prospects and Challenges for Arctic Oil Development
                    [post_excerpt] => 
                    [post_status] => publish
                    [comment_status] => closed
                    [ping_status] => closed
                    [post_password] => 
                    [post_name] => the-prospects-and-challenges-for-arctic-oil-development
                    [to_ping] => 
                    [pinged] => 
                    [post_modified] => 2016-02-29 17:39:37
                    [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-02-29 17:39:37
                    [post_content_filtered] => 
                    [post_parent] => 0
                    [guid] => https://www.oxfordenergy.org/wpcms/publications/the-prospects-and-challenges-for-arctic-oil-development/
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                )

            [10] => WP_Post Object
                (
                    [ID] => 27389
                    [post_author] => 1
                    [post_date] => 2014-10-27 10:57:52
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2014-10-27 10:57:52
                    [post_content] => There is limited scope for significantly reducing overall European dependence on Russian gas before the mid-2020s. Countries in the Baltic region and south eastern Europe which are highly dependent on Russian gas, and hence extremely vulnerable to interruptions, could substantially reduce and even eliminate imports of Russian gas by the early 2020s, by a combination of LNG and pipeline gas from Azerbaijan. Similar measures could reduce (but not eliminate) the dependence of central Europe and Turkey on Russian gas. However, Russian gas will be highly competitive with all other pipeline gas and LNG (including US LNG) supplies to Europe, and Gazprom’s market power to impact European hub prices may be considerable. Countries with strong geopolitical fears related to Russian gas dependence will need to either terminate, or not renew on expiry, their long term contracts with Gazprom.
                    [post_title] => Reducing European Dependence on Russian Gas - distinguishing natural gas security from geopolitics
                    [post_excerpt] => 
                    [post_status] => publish
                    [comment_status] => closed
                    [ping_status] => closed
                    [post_password] => 
                    [post_name] => reducing-european-dependence-on-russian-gas-distinguishing-natural-gas-security-from-geopolitics
                    [to_ping] => 
                    [pinged] => 
                    [post_modified] => 2016-02-29 17:42:06
                    [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-02-29 17:42:06
                    [post_content_filtered] => 
                    [post_parent] => 0
                    [guid] => https://www.oxfordenergy.org/wpcms/publications/reducing-european-dependence-on-russian-gas-distinguishing-natural-gas-security-from-geopolitics/
                    [menu_order] => 0
                    [post_type] => publications
                    [post_mime_type] => 
                    [comment_count] => 0
                    [filter] => raw
                )

            [11] => WP_Post Object
                (
                    [ID] => 27403
                    [post_author] => 1
                    [post_date] => 2014-09-01 13:50:04
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2014-09-01 12:50:04
                    [post_content] => Executive Summary

The Oxford Institute for Energy Studies Natural Gas Research Programme has recently published a paper entitled ‘The Future of Australian LNG Exports: Will domestic challenges limit the development of future LNG export capacity?’

With seven the new LNG projects under construction and due for completion in the 2014 – 2018 timeframe amounting in addition to existing facilities, Australia is expected to overtake Qatar as the world’s largest supplier of LNG by the end of the 2010s.  With its plentiful gas reserves, prior track record of LNG project execution and operation and relative proximity to the fast growing Asian LNG markets the degree of comparative advantage would seem to guarantee a benign investment environment.

However, several factors, among them competition for skilled labour within Australia, the strength of the Australian dollar and the specific logistical and environmental sensitivities of the project locations have resulted in significant cost escalations and in some cases delays to the original project schedules.  This paper also serves to convey an understanding of the much overlooked Australian gas market and, significantly the impact that the new LNG projects are already having on internal supply/demand – price dynamics and the political challenges raised.

Much energy media attention has focused on the problems faced by the current group of new Australian LNG projects. This paper comprehensively addresses the root causes but more importantly conveys the scale of the new wave of Australian LNG supply and integrates this with its impact on the domestic market which until now has been largely isolated from global energy dynamics.  The OIES Natural Gas Research Programme is committed to producing timely and insightful research on both supply and demand side developments and this paper achieves both these objectives.
                    [post_title] => The Future of Australian LNG Exports - Will domestic challenges limit the development of future LNG export capacity?
                    [post_excerpt] => 
                    [post_status] => publish
                    [comment_status] => closed
                    [ping_status] => closed
                    [post_password] => 
                    [post_name] => the-future-of-australian-lng-exports-will-domestic-challenges-limit-the-development-of-future-lng-export-capacity
                    [to_ping] => 
                    [pinged] => 
                    [post_modified] => 2016-03-01 14:11:56
                    [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-03-01 14:11:56
                    [post_content_filtered] => 
                    [post_parent] => 0
                    [guid] => https://www.oxfordenergy.org/wpcms/publications/the-future-of-australian-lng-exports-will-domestic-challenges-limit-the-development-of-future-lng-export-capacity/
                    [menu_order] => 0
                    [post_type] => publications
                    [post_mime_type] => 
                    [comment_count] => 0
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            [12] => WP_Post Object
                (
                    [ID] => 27427
                    [post_author] => 1
                    [post_date] => 2014-03-10 12:29:50
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2014-03-10 12:29:50
                    [post_content] => The change of government in Kyiv, the Russian military action in Crimea, the diplomatic reaction by the western powers, and the perceived danger of war, clearly have implications for all economic relations between Russia, Ukraine and Europe, especially in the energy sphere. Russia supplies about 30% of Europe’s natural gas, and more than half of these volumes are still transported via Ukraine. In Ukraine, gas supply issues are combined with the economic upheavals aggravated by political crisis.

As of March 10th 2014, the most likely source of supply disruptions is the serious indebtedness of Naftogaz Ukrainy, which, despite clearing some of its $3.3 billion debt to Gazprom in late February, as of 7 March was in arrears to Gazprom by a sum of just under $2 billion.  In previous Russo-Ukrainian gas disputes, such a build-up of debt has led to Gazprom cutting off deliveries to Ukrainian customers and the subsequent diversion of transit gas bound for Europe to consumption in Ukraine. This led in January 2009 to all westward deliveries of Russian gas, both to EU and Ukrainian destinations, being suspended for two weeks.

If gas deliveries through Ukraine are halted the impact would be less serious than in 2009, because (i) the Nord Stream pipeline, which transports Russian gas to Germany without crossing Ukraine or Belarus, has been completed, and other interconnections have improved the situation in eastern Europe; and (ii) the economic situation, and the arrival of milder weather means that demand is relatively low.

From Europe’s standpoint, commercial logic would suggest that support would be given to diversifying gas transit away from Ukraine, including regulatory support for the South Stream pipeline, which, if completed with four strings, should enable the transit of Russian gas through Ukraine to be suspended completely by 2020. However, it is possible that a political move to minimise cooperation with Russia on energy issues in line with European governments’ views of the Russian action in Crimea – may prevail. In this case, the EU-Russian disputes over gas imports and regulation will worsen, with potentially negative consequences for South Stream. Moreover, European efforts to diversify away from Russian gas, the success of which has been limited in the past because of the economic costs, will be revived.
                    [post_title] => What the Ukrainian crisis means for gas markets
                    [post_excerpt] => 
                    [post_status] => publish
                    [comment_status] => closed
                    [ping_status] => closed
                    [post_password] => 
                    [post_name] => what-the-ukrainian-crisis-means-for-gas-markets
                    [to_ping] => 
                    [pinged] => 
                    [post_modified] => 2016-02-29 16:33:45
                    [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-02-29 16:33:45
                    [post_content_filtered] => 
                    [post_parent] => 0
                    [guid] => https://www.oxfordenergy.org/wpcms/publications/what-the-ukrainian-crisis-means-for-gas-markets/
                    [menu_order] => 0
                    [post_type] => publications
                    [post_mime_type] => 
                    [comment_count] => 0
                    [filter] => raw
                )

            [13] => WP_Post Object
                (
                    [ID] => 27434
                    [post_author] => 1
                    [post_date] => 2014-02-14 16:09:00
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2014-02-14 16:09:00
                    [post_content] => Russia possesses the potential to produce significant gas from its Eastern Regions, with total proved reserves in East Siberia and the Far East of Russia standing at 5 trillion cubic metres (Tcm) while prospective resources could be as large as 65Tcm. This would appear to give Russia a huge opportunity for export sales into the Asia Pacific region, which contains the world’s largest LNG importing nations and two of the world’s fastest growing gas markets in China and India (also importers of LNG). It is surprising, therefore, that despite the obvious commercial logic of linking enormous gas resources to expanding consumption centres, to date Russia’s only significant exports in the region are from the Sakhalin 2 project, which currently sells 10.8mt (14.6 Bcm) of LNG per annum into the neighbouring Asian markets. However, it is possible this situation could change significantly over the next five to ten years as Russia attempts to re-focus its Asian efforts with plans for potential sales of piped gas and LNG. A number of key uncertainties remain, though: will Russia finally sign a gas export contract with China; will Gazprom as a result remain the dominant player, or will its domestic competitors Rosneft and Novatek take on a more prominent role? If the latter is the case, will Russia’s eastern strategy be driven by LNG alone, implying much lower volumes of exports into Asia; and finally, is it possible that Russia may miss this opportunity altogether, either as a result of political delay or failure to price gas competitively from these new projects? This Energy Comment from James Henderson and Jonathan Stern discuss these issues and assesses the potential consequences for the Asian gas market that new Russian gas supplies could have, as and when they ultimately are exported from the country’s Eastern Regions.
                    [post_title] => The Potential Impact on Asia Gas Markets of Russia's Eastern Gas Strategy
                    [post_excerpt] => 
                    [post_status] => publish
                    [comment_status] => closed
                    [ping_status] => closed
                    [post_password] => 
                    [post_name] => the-potential-impact-on-asia-gas-markets-of-russias-eastern-gas-strategy
                    [to_ping] => 
                    [pinged] => 
                    [post_modified] => 2016-02-29 15:48:14
                    [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-02-29 15:48:14
                    [post_content_filtered] => 
                    [post_parent] => 0
                    [guid] => https://www.oxfordenergy.org/wpcms/publications/the-potential-impact-on-asia-gas-markets-of-russias-eastern-gas-strategy/
                    [menu_order] => 0
                    [post_type] => publications
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                    [comment_count] => 0
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                )

            [14] => WP_Post Object
                (
                    [ID] => 27463
                    [post_author] => 1
                    [post_date] => 2013-10-08 12:14:08
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2013-10-08 11:14:08
                    [post_content] => Oil production from Russia's core regions is in decline and the government is keen to encourage the development of fields in new areas in order to keep the country's output above 10mmbpd. A series of joint ventures between state oil company Rosneft and various IOCs offshore in the Arctic has caused much excitement in this regard, but the potential of Russia's unconventional oil resources might provide a shorter term reason to be optimistic. Russia has the largest estimated shale oil resources in the world, with a particular focus on the Bazhenov layer, and this report analyses the oil company work that has been done to date to assess the real potential of this resource and also assesses the potential impact of tax changes that have been introduced to encourage investment activity. It concludes that although the resource base would appear to be enormous, a number of below and above ground issues remain which mean that government targets of 1mmbpd of production win a decade are unlikely to be met. Not the least of the challenges to be faced include the need to increase the horizontal drilling capacity of the service industry in Russia as well as the likely need for further tax incentives once a clearer picture of the real economics of unconventional development in Russia has been formed. Nevertheless Russia's unconventional oil plays can make a significant contribution to the country's longer term production outlook in tandem with other developments in the Arctic and East Siberia.
                    [post_title] => Tight Oil Developments in Russia
                    [post_excerpt] => 
                    [post_status] => publish
                    [comment_status] => closed
                    [ping_status] => closed
                    [post_password] => 
                    [post_name] => tight-oil-developments-in-russia
                    [to_ping] => 
                    [pinged] => 
                    [post_modified] => 2016-02-29 15:42:57
                    [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-02-29 15:42:57
                    [post_content_filtered] => 
                    [post_parent] => 0
                    [guid] => https://www.oxfordenergy.org/wpcms/publications/tight-oil-developments-in-russia/
                    [menu_order] => 0
                    [post_type] => publications
                    [post_mime_type] => 
                    [comment_count] => 0
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                )

            [15] => WP_Post Object
                (
                    [ID] => 27499
                    [post_author] => 1
                    [post_date] => 2013-01-17 15:27:59
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2013-01-17 15:27:59
                    [post_content] => This paper by James Henderson is published in conjunction with an Energy Comment by Simon Pirani. The paper and comment evaluate the development of competition in the Russian gas production sector and the impact of the recession and pricing policies on demand for Russian gas in its main markets.

While Gazprom has generally been focused on developing giant, but remote, fields such as Bovanenkovskoye on the Yamal peninsula and Shtokman (postponed during 2012), it has seen the market for these relatively high cost base supplies at best static in Europe and shrinking within Russia as others gain market share.  The rising tide of Russian domestic gas prices has ‘lifted all boats’. Certainly Gazprom has benefitted, but this has provided strong incentives for its domestic upstream competitors who have demonstrated robust production growth over the past few years. James develops this thesis with a wealth of analysis and insight based on his long experience of the sector.

Simon Pirani’s Comment provides an update of the analysis in his paper ‘Elusive Potential: Gas Consumption in the CIS and the Quest for Efficiency’, OIES 2011.  The three main markets for Russian gas; namely the domestic market, CIS and European markets have seen consumption levels significantly impacted by a range of factors in the last four years.  These include the impact of the financial crisis and subsequent recession, the growth of renewables (and coal) in Europe, the increasing competition between suppliers of gas as well as the consequences of abrupt changes in gas price levels in specific market geographies.

Given the scale of the markets involved (in aggregate some 650 bcma) and the conclusion that such changes have momentum yet to be spent before some form of equilibrium is attained, these studies have resonance beyond the CIS – Europe arena.
                    [post_title] => Competition for Customers in the Evolving Russian Gas Market
                    [post_excerpt] => 
                    [post_status] => publish
                    [comment_status] => closed
                    [ping_status] => closed
                    [post_password] => 
                    [post_name] => competition-for-customers-in-the-evolving-russian-gas-market
                    [to_ping] => 
                    [pinged] => 
                    [post_modified] => 2016-02-29 15:36:00
                    [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-02-29 15:36:00
                    [post_content_filtered] => 
                    [post_parent] => 0
                    [guid] => https://www.oxfordenergy.org/wpcms/publications/competition-for-customers-in-the-evolving-russian-gas-market/
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                )

            [16] => WP_Post Object
                (
                    [ID] => 28120
                    [post_author] => 1
                    [post_date] => 2012-10-16 15:21:09
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2012-10-16 14:21:09
                    [post_content] => This paper by James Henderson assesses the status and possible future impact of the growing list of potential LNG export projects in the US and Canada.It focuses on future North American LNG exports which, while subject to political and production performance uncertainty, have the potential to create considerable impact in the likely destination markets of Asia, and also (through displacement of Middle East or African sourced LNG) Europe.  Whilst it is unlikely that all the identified US and Canadian LNG export projects will proceed, there is the potential that sufficient investment will be forthcoming to allow arbitrage to proceed to its ‘equilibrium’, given favourable policy decisions.
                    [post_title] => The Potential Impact of North American LNG Exports
                    [post_excerpt] => 
                    [post_status] => publish
                    [comment_status] => closed
                    [ping_status] => closed
                    [post_password] => 
                    [post_name] => the-potential-impact-of-north-american-lng-exports
                    [to_ping] => 
                    [pinged] => 
                    [post_modified] => 2016-02-29 16:49:52
                    [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-02-29 16:49:52
                    [post_content_filtered] => 
                    [post_parent] => 0
                    [guid] => https://www.oxfordenergy.org/wpcms/publications/the-potential-impact-of-north-american-lng-exports-2/
                    [menu_order] => 0
                    [post_type] => publications
                    [post_mime_type] => 
                    [comment_count] => 0
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                )

            [17] => WP_Post Object
                (
                    [ID] => 27521
                    [post_author] => 1
                    [post_date] => 2012-07-12 10:13:48
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2012-07-12 09:13:48
                    [post_content] => While higher fuel specifications and regulatory changes in the bunkers market are most likely to have a big impact on long-term fuel oil demand, a structural shift of a similar magnitude on the supply side is already taking place, particularly in Russia, the largest exporter of fuel oil. The Russian government’s firmly stated commitment to the regeneration of its country’s refining industry and its determination to ensure that domestic demand for higher quality products is met would suggest that, although the exact timing of a reduction in fuel oil production may be unclear, a sharp decline in fuel oil exports by 2016 seems inevitable. We show that in the past, price relationships between high sulphur and low sulphur fuel oil and between heavy fuel oil and crude oil and diesel have been subject to structural breaks, but price movement did not increase or decrease without bounds as the refining industry continued to adjust to increasing demand for petroleum products and changing global demand patterns towards cleaner products. Looking ahead, as investment in refining capacity expands and as upgrading of refining units accelerates in Russia and elsewhere, price spreads are likely to exhibit similar behaviour to that in the past few years. This does not imply that structural breaks in the price relationships will not occur. For instance, governments’ desire to implement more stringent requirements without ensuring that the refining infrastructure is ready for such a shift or delays in refining projects will most likely destabilise the behaviour of price differentials, though the timing and the nature of such potential breaks (abrupt of gradual) remain highly uncertain.
                    [post_title] => The Impact of Russia's Refinery Upgrade Plans on Global Fuel Oil Markets
                    [post_excerpt] => 
                    [post_status] => publish
                    [comment_status] => closed
                    [ping_status] => closed
                    [post_password] => 
                    [post_name] => the-impact-of-russias-refinery-upgrade-plans-on-global-fuel-oil-markets
                    [to_ping] => 
                    [pinged] => 
                    [post_modified] => 2016-03-01 14:54:21
                    [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-03-01 14:54:21
                    [post_content_filtered] => 
                    [post_parent] => 0
                    [guid] => https://www.oxfordenergy.org/wpcms/publications/the-impact-of-russias-refinery-upgrade-plans-on-global-fuel-oil-markets/
                    [menu_order] => 0
                    [post_type] => publications
                    [post_mime_type] => 
                    [comment_count] => 0
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            [18] => WP_Post Object
                (
                    [ID] => 27530
                    [post_author] => 1
                    [post_date] => 2012-05-18 12:27:51
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2012-05-18 11:27:51
                    [post_content] => The increasing maturity of Russia’s onshore fields, especially those in West Siberia, and the potential for the country’s production to go into sharp decline over the next decade has prompted the Russian government to promote offshore development as a potential solution. President Putin has encouraged his state oil company to seek international partnership to bring in the requisite technical and management expertise as well as much needed capital to fund what will be very expensive projects. The immediate consequence of this activity has been the formation of three joint venture partnerships between Rosneft and Exxon, ENI and Statoil respectively, with the IOCs finally seizing the chance to exploit their competitive advantages in a region with huge resource potential. However, despite the undoubted benefits which these new partnerships can bring for all parties in terms of technical knowledge exchange, reciprocal asset deals, diversification of risk and potential upside from exploration success, it would appear doubtful whether the results of their activity can be anything other than a long-term solution to Russia’s production issues. Therefore, the Russian government may need to increase the incentives for both domestic and international companies to exploit the country’s more accessible onshore resources if the country’s current levels of oil production are to be maintained in the short to medium term.
                    [post_title] => Joint Ventures in the Russian Offshore – Positive News but only for the Long Term
                    [post_excerpt] => 
                    [post_status] => publish
                    [comment_status] => closed
                    [ping_status] => closed
                    [post_password] => 
                    [post_name] => joint-ventures-in-the-russian-offshore-positive-news-but-only-for-the-long-term
                    [to_ping] => 
                    [pinged] => 
                    [post_modified] => 2016-02-29 15:26:43
                    [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-02-29 15:26:43
                    [post_content_filtered] => 
                    [post_parent] => 0
                    [guid] => https://www.oxfordenergy.org/wpcms/publications/joint-ventures-in-the-russian-offshore-positive-news-but-only-for-the-long-term/
                    [menu_order] => 0
                    [post_type] => publications
                    [post_mime_type] => 
                    [comment_count] => 0
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                )

            [19] => WP_Post Object
                (
                    [ID] => 28173
                    [post_author] => 1
                    [post_date] => 2012-04-16 10:23:38
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2012-04-16 09:23:38
                    [post_content] => In February 2012, during a period of extremely cold weather across Russia and large parts of Europe, Gazprom failed to supply all the gas that was requested from it by its non-CIS customers in countries ranging from Poland in the north to Italy and Greece in the south of Europe. This situation led to concerns over a gas shortage and caused gas prices to spike at all the major hubs on the continent and in the UK. This Comment argues that the supposed supply “crisis” was not caused by any production shortfall in Russia but by a combination of inadequate storage available to Gazprom, excess gas withdrawal by Ukraine and in particular by political considerations in Russia ahead of the Presidential election in early March. However, it does highlight the current constraints to the Russian gas supply machine under certain severe temperature conditions. The paper also argues that, in contradiction to the claims of Alexander Medvedev (the Head of GazpromExport) that “spot markets failed to compensate for the increased demand”, in fact the markets had a logical price reaction to daily supply/demand changes. Although this reaction resulted in sharply higher prices in the short term, this provided a potent commercial signal which in turn led to spot supplies and/or demand management and then, as the situation resolved itself, produced lower prices so that the monthly average was still below the oil-indexed average price. While it is certainly true that the mature hubs at NBP and TTF reacted in a more responsive manner than some of the Continent’s less liquid hubs, it was nevertheless the case that, overall, customers were supplied at a market price and traders were able to arbitrage a short-term supply and demand imbalance.
                    [post_title] => Lessons from the February 2012 European gas “crisis”
                    [post_excerpt] => 
                    [post_status] => publish
                    [comment_status] => closed
                    [ping_status] => closed
                    [post_password] => 
                    [post_name] => lessons-from-the-february-2012-european-gas-crisis-2
                    [to_ping] => 
                    [pinged] => 
                    [post_modified] => 2016-03-01 14:57:45
                    [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-03-01 14:57:45
                    [post_content_filtered] => 
                    [post_parent] => 0
                    [guid] => https://www.oxfordenergy.org/wpcms/publications/lessons-from-the-february-2012-european-gas-crisis-2/
                    [menu_order] => 0
                    [post_type] => publications
                    [post_mime_type] => 
                    [comment_count] => 0
                    [filter] => raw
                )

            [20] => WP_Post Object
                (
                    [ID] => 27542
                    [post_author] => 1
                    [post_date] => 2012-03-26 16:20:36
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2012-03-26 15:20:36
                    [post_content] => Recent forecasts for gas supply in Russia produced by Novatek and Gazprom highlight the large amount of gas available to meet demand in the next 10 years and also point to contrasting views about which companies’ production may be preferred in a potentially oversupplied market place. In light of this potential oversupply situation, it is becoming clear that a number of Non-Gazprom producers (NGPs), including Novatek and some Russian oil companies, are taking the view that the Russian gas market will soon become much more competitive and that access to end consumers will become essential for any company wishing to maximise its gas sales. Rosneft’s announcement in February 2012 that it is to form a joint venture with Itera provides a prime example of this trend. However, this suggests the possibility that Gazprom, which is becoming more reliant on production from remote and relatively high cost fields, may soon find itself at a competitive disadvantage and facing the possibility that it may fail to meet its own production targets by some distance. As a state-owned company, it may hope to rely on political support to achieve its objectives and maintain its dominant position in the Russian gas market, but the Russian Administration then faces a potentially awkward consequence of a higher domestic gas price than might otherwise be necessary, as the lower cost gas owned by Non-Gazprom Producers is crowded out to leave room for Gazprom’s gas. This comment examines this impending dilemma for the Russian government and suggests that one conclusion is that what is good for Gazprom may no longer be good for Russia.
                    [post_title] => Is a Russian Domestic Gas Bubble Emerging?
                    [post_excerpt] => 
                    [post_status] => publish
                    [comment_status] => closed
                    [ping_status] => closed
                    [post_password] => 
                    [post_name] => is-a-russian-domestic-gas-bubble-emerging
                    [to_ping] => 
                    [pinged] => 
                    [post_modified] => 2016-02-29 15:25:09
                    [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-02-29 15:25:09
                    [post_content_filtered] => 
                    [post_parent] => 0
                    [guid] => https://www.oxfordenergy.org/wpcms/publications/is-a-russian-domestic-gas-bubble-emerging/
                    [menu_order] => 0
                    [post_type] => publications
                    [post_mime_type] => 
                    [comment_count] => 0
                    [filter] => raw
                )

            [21] => WP_Post Object
                (
                    [ID] => 28196
                    [post_author] => 1
                    [post_date] => 2012-01-19 10:24:54
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2012-01-19 10:24:54
                    [post_content] => Since the election of Vladimir Putin as president of Russia in 2000 Rosneft has become one of the cornerstones of the strategy for the Russian state to retake control over the ‘commanding heights’ of the economy, and in particular the energy sector.  However, having now established itself as a global-scale oil company, Rosneft faces a number of significant challenges. In common with many NOCs, its global significance is based entirely on its domestic asset base, and despite the size of Russia’s resources Rosneft does face the problem that its existing assets in the core areas of West Siberia and European Russia are going into gradual decline. This decline can be offset by the development of new areas such as East Siberia, the Arctic, and offshore fields, but these regions are remote and their exploitation will require advanced and expensive new technology. In parallel with this issue Rosneft is also facing pressure from its majority owner, the Russian government, to act as a catalyst for establishing a greater role for Russia in the global economy, using its energy resources as an important tool. The company is therefore looking to increase the diversity of its asset base by investing overseas at a time when the competition for global oil reserves is high and when Rosneft itself has limited experience of dealing in the international asset market.

This paper explores how Rosneft may be attempting to meet these twin challenges, using the example of two peer NOCs that have experienced similar problems. Petrobras and Statoil are partially privatized, upstream focused NOCs who have established international businesses both as a way of supplementing and diversifying their domestic resource bases and also as a means of acquiring and exploiting technological and operating experience that could be applied across their asset portfolios. Both companies also have a much longer history as corporate entities than Rosneft, and gained listings on an international stock exchange (in New York) in 2000-2001, five to six years before Rosneft’s own privatization. As a result, they can provide a clear analogy for the strategy and tactics that Rosneft may use in the development of its own business model, and indeed it appears that in 2011 Russia’s NOC is already taking a similar path to its ‘Partial NOC’ peers.
                    [post_title] => Rosneft - On the Road to Global NOC Status?
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                    [post_content] => This paper, by James Henderson, concludes that Russian domestic gas prices are not likely to reach European netback levels any time soon, but that the momentum of the past five years towards significantly higher domestic prices will continue, leading to an eventual liberalization of the Russian gas market. Over the next decade, this could create fundamental changes in Russia’s relationship with European gas markets with potential competition for available supplies between domestic and European export markets.
                    [post_title] => Domestic Gas Prices in Russia – Towards Export Netback?
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                    [post_content] => The Oxford Institute for Energy Studies has recently published a paper which concludes that agreement between Russia and China for pipeline gas exports may not be reached this year or even in 2012. The paper by James Henderson suggests that the Chinese have developed other gas import options from Central Asia, Myanmar and a range of LNG suppliers which mean they are not in a hurry to conclude a contract with Russia. On the other side of the border Gazprom does not want to compromise on the principle of oil-linked pricing on which it is insisting in its European export contracts. Both sides believe themselves to be in a powerful position without the need for compromise, but the paper suggests that if the first pipeline project could be located in Eastern Siberia – instead of the Altai line from Western Siberia which is Gazprom’s priority – then it would be easier to agree a price acceptable to both parties.
                    [post_title] => The Pricing Debate over Russian Gas Exports to China
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                    [post_content] => Russian oil exports have historically been focused on western markets but the rapid growth of the Asia-Pacific economies over the past two decades has led to a re-focusing of Russia’s strategic and energy interests. The oil and gas resources of East Siberia and the Far East of Russia have long been known about and a number of factors have now led the Russian Administration to increase the priority of their development. Dr. Henderson’s paper examines the renewed interest in investment in the oil resources in East Siberia and the Far East. This paper examines the strategic importance of the East Siberia–Pacific Ocean pipeline and the ability of Russia to increase production from its eastern regions to fill the full capacity of the line. It examines the plans of all the companies involved in field development looking in detail at the specific assets that will provide the bulk of Russia’s oil exports to eastern markets. The paper also discusses the fiscal incentives that the Russian State is starting to provide in order to encourage companies to invest, and provides estimates by company of the potential amount and timing of oil production that could possibly emerge as a result. It also analyses the potential for Russia’s eastern territories to produce sufficient oil to balance the gradual decline expected in the west of the country, and explores the opportunity for Russian exports to make a greater contribution to the crude mix supplying demand in the Asia-Pacific region.
                    [post_title] => The Strategic Implications of Russia's Eastern Oil Resources
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            [post_content] => This paper, carried out as a joint piece of research by OIES and ERI RAS (the Energy Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences) assesses the prospects for Russian oil production to 2020 and beyond, and suggests that the history of steady growth seen over the past decade is set to continue. Brownfield decline is being actively managed, a portfolio of greenfields has and is being developed which can more than compensate for the decline in mature assets and in the longer-term regions such as the offshore, East Siberia and tight oil offer significant upside. The recent agreement to cut overall production in H1 2016 will create a short-term brake on growth, but the average for 2017 should still be almost 2% higher than for 2016. Meanwhile, sanctions are continuing to affect the use of technology for some of Russia’s harder to develop reserves. Nevertheless, our analysis on both a corporate and regional level suggests that, barring another collapse in the oil price or a further tightening of sanctions, the outlook for Russian oil production over the next few years remains positive.

Podcast with James Henderson

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Latest Publications by James Henderson

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