Russia is one of a few countries in the world, that fully satisfies its needs in natural gas and exports it to other countries. The specific weight of Russian gas reserves in the world balance is 36%. 594.9 billion m3 of gas were produced in 1995 in Russia.
Proved reserves and forecasted resources of natural gas in Russia with confidence allow us to direct the development of the energy of the country towards its use in the 21st century.
Gasprom develops 78 gas and gas condensate fields, maintains 144.2 thousand km of trunk gas pipelines, 245 compressor stations with 40.2 million kW total power, operates 21 underground natural gas Storages.
The contribution of natural gas to the structure of energy resources in Russia is 45%, and by 2010 will increase to 57%. Sufficient transformations are planned in the structure of natural gas use in the national economy.
In the future Russian natural gas export to CIS and other countries is to increase, new projects of natural gas transportation have been worked out.
Philosophizing on their forecasts for world power production, Russian scientists worked out a concept of the ‘methane era’, or the ‘gas bridge to the future’.
The specific role of natural gas is well recognized in the solution of energy and environmental problems, improvement of living conditions and implementation of energy-saving technologies. The reserves of natural gas will have made it possible to resolve the problems of steady fuel and power supply and improve the environment before the middle of the new century.
During that period mankind will be able to create prerequisites for a transfer to the development of power production on the basis of safe new generation nuclear power plants, to work out environmentally sound technologies using coal, and to broadly employ non-traditional renewable power sources.
According to the World Gas Union, the reserves of gas on this planet can be estimated at 398 trillion m3 (143 trillion m3 proved). Major reserves of this fuel made it possible to increase during 20 yr (1973–1993) world power consumption by 38%, 65% of the gain covered by natural gas.
And despite the period of cheap oil, the share of gas in the balance of primary fuel reserves increased from 19–23% while the share of oil and coal decreased from 49 to 40% and from 30–27%, respectively. The European Energy Agency forecasts that the world gas consumption in 2010 may become 3.3 trillion m3/yr (approximately 24% of total power consumption).
The gas industry evolved in many world regions as a companion to the oil industry and stayed in its shadow. It is only in the U.S.A. that this industry is an independent sector enjoying more than a century of its history.