Either Vladimir Putin has failed to identify the real problem here, or he’s pretending it doesn’t exist. Given his track record, both are equally likely:
Russian President Vladimir Putin has vowed that the country’s enormous oil and gas reserves are in no danger of running out, despite flagging domestic crude production growth.
“As for our oil and reserves, they are underestimated – there is enough for generations to come,” Putin said, speaking during a nearly three-hour, televised question-and-answer session with the public.
According to BP’s annual statistics review published in July, Russia is the world’s number-six in terms of oil reserves with 72 billion barrels, and is ranked number one in terms of gas reserves with 1700 trillion cubic feet. Saudi Arabia has most crude with 263 billion barrels, while Iran is the world’s number-two in terms of gas reserves with 950 Tcf.
Russia’s crude oil production growth rate is slowing at a time when world prices are at record highs over supply concerns.
It is not doubts over Russia’s reserves that is keeping investment from pouring into Russia on the back of the high crude price. It is the appalling economic governance of the country along with the bitter experience of investors in the 1990s, the politicised demolishing of Yukos, the umpteen reversals on taxation policies, and the theft of industrial property by the state-backed mafia which is keeping the investors at bay.