The US shale boom is making it harder for Russia to expand its energy production ahead of an expected fall in international gas prices.
And a potential shale revolution in Europe could pose a further challenge to Russia’s oil and gas industry following widespread global condemnation of its intervention in Ukraine.
A global oil and gas report says the era of Russian “easy oil” has ended and the country now has to look to exploit resources in geographically isolated and more costly frontiers such as Siberia and the Arctic.
While Russian exploration and production spending is due to increase by $6 billion to $60 billion this year, the nation’s oil and gas projects will require high energy prices to be economically viable, Deloitte’s 2014 Oil and Gas Reality Check report says.
“Growing unconventional energy production in the US is expected to have a moderating effect on international energy prices when exports are fully underway, potentially constraining development in these new frontiers,” Deloitte says.
Even more troublesome for Russia is that a European shale revolution could potentially happen on its doorstep, affecting some of its largest export markets.
“Oil and gas companies, many of which helped make unconventional production a reality in North America, are just beginning to invest in European shale,” it says.
While no commercial discoveries have been made to date, the United Kingdom, Poland, Romania and Ukraine have emerged as major test cases for the viability of shale resources in Europe.
It said geopolitical developments related to the crisis in Ukraine could have global energy ramifications.
Russia exports much of its gas to Europe through Ukraine.
“On a relative basis the Ukraine situation will have less of an impact on the global energy framework than the ascent of North America into self-sufficiency and possibly into a new role as an export powerhouse,” Deloitte said.
The global financial consulting firm added that increased competition for a share of the European natural gas market could lead to lower energy prices in Europe.
The release of the report comes as US Secretary of State John Kerry holds talks about Russian sanctions against Australia as part of the AUSMIN ministerial discussions in Sydney.