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Hundreds of billions and 50 years to exploit Arctic

Developing the Siberian Arctic’s vast gas fields around Yamal and the Kara Sea will take hundreds of billions of dollars and at least 50 years. That is what Shell CEO Jeroen van der Veer is understood to have told Russian President Vladimir Putin in a meeting earlier this month.

The Dutch supermajor has refused to confirm, but UK’s The Times newspaper claims to have seen the statement in a slide presentation from GasTerra, one of the other Dutch groups which joined the meeting. The presentation made by Gertjan Lankhorst, CEO of GasTerra, which is 25% owned by Shell, 25% by Exxon-Mobil and 50% by the Dutch Government, estimated that the region could hold more than 30 trillion cubic meters of gas. Russia’s state-owned Gazprom is keen to tap the region’s reserves in the early part of next decade to replace declines in its other fields. Earlier this year it linked up with France’s Total and Norway’s StatoilHydro in preparation of developing the huge Shtokman region of the Barents Sea, which is believed to hold 3.8 trillion cubic meters of gas. Development costs are estimated at more than $20 billion. (