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Resource endowment

Oil deposits in Belarus are in a single oil and gas basin, Pripyat. There are several active oilfields and 59 more under development, the largest in the final stages.

Belarus has 27 Mt of crude oil reserves and 30 Mt of recoverable resources according to 2012 estimates of the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR). Natural gas reserves are estimated at 3 bcm, and recoverable resources at 10 bcm.

According to the state programme on environmental protection and sustainable use of natural resources for 2016‑20, oil will account for at least 80% of annual energy production in 2020.

Explored reserves of peat are estimated at 4 billion tonnes (Bt): 41 peat deposits cover a total area of 34 000 hectares (ha), and recoverable resources are estimated at 84.6 Mt. The 15 100 ha of mining resources hold 30.8 Mt. Peat production in Belarus was 0.551 Mtoe in 2018.

Belarus has identified brown coal reserves of 150 Mt, with further potential of 98.2 Mt. The most promising deposits for commercial development are in the western part of the Gomel Oblast, Zhitkovichi, Novoselovka and Tonezh.

Shale oil is a significant but undeveloped energy resource in Belarus: 8.8 Bt of shale oil are estimated, with up to 3.6 Bt of recoverable reserves, all concentrated within the Pripyat Shale Basin. About 30% of the Luban and Turovskoe fields have been explored, and probable resources are estimated at 1 223 Mt at Luban and 2 684 Mt in Turovskoe.

Energy security and diversification

Because energy security is one of Belarus’s main objectives, its high dependence on Russian oil and natural gas imports makes energy efficiency and renewable energy development essential. The country’s energy strategy is increasingly focused on reducing import dependency (particularly on natural gas from a single supplier) by developing local energy sources, introducing nuclear power, decreasing overall consumption and reducing the amount of natural gas in the energy mix.

With energy independence and import supply diversification as strategic goals up to 2035, Belarus plans to reduce Russian supplies from 90% to 70% of total energy imports and, most strikingly, to reduce the share of gas in electricity and heat energy production from 90% to 50%.

The government is also monitoring 11 energy security indicators for policy development purposes. The indicators are technology-neutral and focus mostly on the general efficiency of the sector; seven of them are presented in the table below.


Indicator

 

2010 2015 2020 2025 2030 2035
Production as a share of TPES (%) 14 14 16 17 18 20
Renewables as a share of TPES (%) 5 5 6 7 8 9
Dominant import supplier (%) 96 90 85 80 75 70
Gas in TPES (%) 64 60 57 55 52 50
Installed electricity capacity to maximum actual load grid ration (%) 127 160 160 155 150 145
Share of gas in heat and electricity generation (%) 91 90 70 60 50 <50
Energy intensity of GDP, ktoe/BYR (2005 prices) 426 378 370 353 317 268

Source: Minister of Energy, minenergo.gov.by.

It is also necessary to reduce gas demand and expand Belarus’s underground gas storage capacity to improve energy security and accommodate seasonal fluctuations.