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Russia To Get Oil Products Reserve

The head of the Energy Ministry Sergei Shmatko told the journalists that July or August will see the start of fuel reserving. The aim of this process if to avoid another petrol crisis similar to the one earlier this year resulting in a general increase in prices in a number of regions of Russia.

The honorable responsibility of creating the reserve was imposed of the state company Rosneftegaz. Sergei Shmatko pointed out earlier that the would-be oil products reserve will have a limit of 2 million tons and it will be paid for either with the company’s own funds or at the expense of contracted loans.

It is worth mentioning that according to RIA Novosti the contracts on creating fuel reserves have already been signed by LUKOIL and Gazprom Oilt.

The experts give restraint estimation to this initiative of the Energy Ministry. As the President of the Union of Oil & Gas Producers of Russia Gennadiy Shmal says first it is necessary to have a clear understanding of supply and demand balance in the regions and only then talk about reserve. Besides, he points out, this reserve “needs to be stored somewhere and to be transported somehow, and our huge country has only 19 thousand kilometers of product pipe lines while the USA has a couple of hundred thousand.” At the same time the expert thinks that it is no doubt necessary to have a reserve, although its size can hardly influence the market seriously.

Nevertheless the process has started. According to Sergei Shmatko the economic and legal aspects of creating a reserve are being worked on at present, and the process of creation itself will be supported and regulated by the relevant government regulations. At the same time, the minister emphasizes, the system will be commercial and ‘the government must take possible commercial risks with open eyes’.

The oil products reserve creation is the issue which has already been discussed for several years. There was a proposal to use Transnefteproduct (a monopoly in the sphere of transportation of oil products by pipelines) and this February the head of the Energy Ministry made a statement that Rosreserv can be used for this purpose.

This option was later rejected because the interventions process by means of the strategic reserve is connected with solving a huge number of juridical questions and does not make economic sense.

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