Untapped petroleum reserves aren't the only things that come big in Russia. With a border of over 20,100 kilometers and an area of 17,075,200 square kilometers, Russia's size makes it the biggest nation in the world, and perhaps the biggest some of the biggest potential of untapped petroleum resources located in the frigid Arctic.
With over 141 million people, the demand for oil in Russia is huge. In 2004, Russia had the world's fifth highest total oil consumption at 2.6 million barrels of oil per day and had the world's second highest production of oil at 9.27 million barrels of oil per day. Russia also exported the second most barrels of oil per day in 2004 at 6.67 million barrels, and the nation has 60 billion proven reserves, which is the eighth highest total in the world.
Natural gas and petroleum are both staples in the Russian economy, as the country is the third largest energy consumer in the world. Petroleum and natural gas exports have contributed to an increase in the nation's petroleum production rates. This and a relatively high world price on oil has boosted Russia's real gross domestic product up 6.7 percent, which was enough to surpass the average growth rates for other G8 countries such as the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Canada and the United States.
The world's largest country also has a huge need for natural gas. 49 percent of Russia's domestic energy needs were supplied by natural gas in 1992, whereas more than 50 percent of Russia's domestic energy needs are supplied today.
On paper, Russia has the world's largest natural gas reserves and the second largest coal reserves. However, the problem with a significant percentage of these reserves is their location. Many are located in the remote areas of the Arctic that are characterized by severe weather patterns and conditions. Considering also that the geological explorations currently cover 0.17 cubic kilometers-which is considerably smaller geological explorations in other parts of the world such as the Gulf of Mexico and the North Sea-it is no mystery that this area remains untapped.Petroleum Reserves in Russia
Russia does have promising offshore oil and gas resources. It is estimated that about 90 percent of all Russian shelves within the Arctic contain some untapped oil and gas. The shelves are estimated to cover an area of 5.2 to 6.2 million square kilometers and experts estimate that the shelves hold 90 to 100 billion tons of oil equivalent, of which natural gas resources account for 80% of that total.
One of the more promising areas for Russia's energy resources are the offshore basins in the West Arctic's Barents and Kara Seas. The basins cover a total area of 2 million square kilometers and they potentially contain at least 50-60 billion tons of conventional fuel.
In the Kara Sea, the Rusanovskoe and Leningradskoe shelves are estimated to hold 5 trillion cubic meters of natural gas, which is staggering when considering that worldwide gas production equals 2 trillion cubic meters a year.
In the Barents Sea, the Shtokmanovskoe gas condensate field and the Prirazlomnoe oil field in the area of Pechora Bay are of special interest. The Shtokmanovskoe condensate field is probably the world's largest known offshore gas field. Its reserves total about 3 trillion cubic meters of gas and more than 20 million tons of gas condensate. The Prirazlomnoe oil field amounts to more than 200 million tons. Once developed, these areas are sure to lead to significant changed in the world's system of oil and gas transportation.