Press Release, Friday 31/03/17.

At the Special General Meeting of the Australia Russia Dialogue (ARD) held today Mr Eden Paki, Head of Marketing Europe, Africa & Asia, Orica Limited, has been elected as the new ARD President. Creation of ARD was initiated in 2012 by the Russian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Sergey Lavrov, and the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs at that time, Kevin Rudd.

Eden faces a challenging task of reshaping this developing non-government organisation to serve its purposes at the time when bilateral trade and investments between the two countries have substantially reduced and regional relations in the Asia Pacific are in need of clearer goals.

About ARD: ARD is an association of industry, the professions, and academia. Its primary aim is to promote multifaceted engagement between Australia and Russia. Specifically its objectives are:

  • To promote business, educational, technological, tourist, and cultural links between Australia and Russia.

  • To provide a forum for its members to discuss public policy issues of relevance to both countries and to advance these policies in a spirit of mutual understanding.

  • To organise and promote various events for members, friends and colleagues to foster wider public awareness of the Australia-Russia relationships.

On the official level, ARD enjoys bilateral support of the Australian Ambassador to Russia, HE Mr PeterTesch, and the Russian Ambassador to Australia, HE Mr Grigory Logvinov.

About Orica Ltd.: Orica is the world’s largest provider of commercial explosives and innovative blasting systems to the mining, quarrying, oil and gas and construction markets, a leading supplier of sodium cyanide for gold extraction, and a specialist provider of ground support services in mining and tunnelling. With a diverse workforce of around 11,500 employees and contractors, servicing customers across more than 100 countries globally, Orica has been operating in Russia for more than 20 years now with currently over 300 employees working at its 7 production sites and central office in Moscow, providing products and services to more than 20 clients in the country, which include the biggest Russian fertilizers and metals producers.

For further details contact

Back in 2008, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) released an assessment of Arctic undiscovered, technically recoverable, conventional oil and natural gas resources. In so doing, the USGS estimated undiscovered resources for 25 Arctic sedimentary provinces. Overall, USGS estimated 412.16 Bboe of resources. Among the world’s undiscovered resources, this represents 13% of the oil, 30% of the gas and 20% of the NGLs.

USGS also said that the West Siberian basin and East Barents basin, both in Russian territory, hold 47% of the undiscovered resources, with 94% being natural gas and NGLs. So, it’s not a surprise that the Russians are leading the way in exploring for, and developing, Arctic hydrocarbons. Back in late 2013, Russia’s Gazprom initiated the world’s first Arctic oil production at Prirazlomnoye field, which continues to produce today. The potential in the Arctic Alaska province, by the way, was estimated at 29.96 Bbbl of oil, 221.40 Tcf of gas and 5.90 Bbbl of NGLs.

Meanwhile, the significance of Arctic potential, coupled with Russian initiatives, led the Norwegians in 2010 to strike a border deal in the Barents Sea with Moscow. Yet, there are credible rumors that the Norwegians remain highly wary of Russian intentions in the Arctic, so much so that they drilled a record 14 wells in the region during 2014, including several “to plant the flag” in the southeastern portion of their jurisdiction, near the border with Russia. And this year, plans call for a record-breaking 16 Norwegian Arctic exploration wells, including one by Statoil at the Korpfjell prospect near the Russian border. Korpfjell may hold up to 10 Bboe of resources.

Updated: Apr 27

(Extracts from Washington, Reuters, by Roberta Rampton and Timothy Gardner on 7/3/2017).

President Donald Trump will use fast-growing supplies of U.S. natural gas as a political tool when he meets in Warsaw on Thursday with leaders of a dozen countries that are captive to Russia for their energy needs. In recent years, Moscow has cut off gas shipments during pricing disputes with neighboring countries in winter months. Exports from the United States would help reduce their dependence on Russia. Trump will tell the group that Washington wants to help allies by making it as easy as possible for U.S. companies to ship more liquefied natural gas (LNG) to central and eastern Europe, the White House said. Trump will attend the “Three Seas” summit – so named because several of its members surround the Adriatic, Baltic and Black Seas – before the Group of 20 leading economies meet in Germany, where he is slated to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin for the first time.

Among the aims of the Three Seas project is to expand regional energy infrastructure, including LNG import terminals and gas pipelines. Members of the initiative include Poland, Austria, Hungary and Russia’s neighbors Latvia and Estonia.

“In many ways, the LNG exports by the U.S. is the most threatening U.S. policy to Russia,” said Michal Baranowski, director of the Warsaw office of think-tank the German Marshall Fund. The U.S. is expected to become the world’s third-largest exporter of LNG in 2020, just four years after starting up its first export terminal. U.S. exporters have sold most of that gas in long-term contracts, but there are still some volumes on offer, and more export projects on the drawing board.

Cheniere Energy Inc, which opened the first U.S. LNG export terminal in 2016, delivered its first cargo to Poland in June. Five more terminals are expected to be online by 2020. Tellurian Inc has proposed a project with a price tag of as much as $16 billion that it hopes to complete by 2022, in time to compete for long-term contracts to supply Poland that expire the same year and are held by Russian gas giant Gazprom. A global glut in supply may, however, limit U.S. LNG export growth, regardless of Trump’s support. Russia has the advantage in Europe due to its proximity and pipeline connections.

Europeans will be watching to see whether Trump clarifies his administration’s position on a new pipeline to pump Russian gas to Germany, known as Nord Stream 2. The U.S. Senate in June passed a package of sanctions on Russia, including provisions to penalize Western firms involved in the pipeline. The new sanctions have stalled in the House of Representatives. The U.S. State Department has lobbied against the pipeline as a potential supply chokepoint that would make Europe more vulnerable to disruptions. The threat of sanctions adds to tensions between Washington and Berlin. Germany’s government supports the pipeline, and Trump’s position on it is a concern for European diplomats.