Posted: 12.03.2024 17:06:00

Lukashenko: oil reserves in Belarus are undervalued

Speaking at today’s meeting on the state and development of the mineral resource base of the country, the expansion of geological exploration, including hydrocarbon raw materials, President Aleksandr Lukashenko noted that Belarus’ oil reserves are undervalued, BelTA reports

The first point highlighted by the President was that the annual level of oil production in Belarus during the Soviet times stood at about 8m tonnes, or even 9m tonnes according to some sources. The experts present at today’s meeting confirmed that information. In this regard, the Head of State reasonably wondered why the production level had dropped significantly, and what opportunities were available to increase it.

"We used to mine about 8m tonnes of oil in Soviet times. I mention this figure not for nothing. Everyone is aware of Belarus’ natural and geological conditions. We used to mine 8m tonnes, but the volume stands at about 2m tonnes at present. What is the reason for that? I am told that all oil has been pumped out, but I fail to believe,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

"We need to manage the available resources wisely and cost-consciously,” the Head of State continued. “In turn, we must explore the resources that we do not have yet but expect to have. Our exploration process is not good.” With this in view, the Belarusian leader believes it is necessary to enhance geological prospecting and exploration.

It was noted that Belorusneft has a monopoly in Belarus’ oil sector. The company really works well and enjoys advanced competencies. However, an alternative assessment of the state of affairs in this area was also needed, especially with regard to the exploration of new industrial reserves of black gold.

Experts note that there are reserves and potential, and this is confirmed by the annual increase in proven reserves. True, not all of them are easy and economically feasible to extract, given the geological conditions of the oil occurrence. There is no talk about mining to the detriment of the country, but the main task is to work better and at a higher qualitative level – exploring new deposits where it is possible and allocating the necessary resources, though doing this not mindlessly. This joint work should attract all efforts, and everyone needs to do the utmost.

"The country always needs its own mineral resources, as they guarantee sovereignty and stable economic development," the President stressed. “Belarus would be a rich state if it mined 5m tonnes of oil rather than 2m. That's where the reason for considering this issue comes from." Aleksandr Lukashenko considers the issue of using the country’s own raw material base is really relevant at times when sanctions pressure against Belarus is annually increasing.

"I am informed that the industrial reserves of Belarusian oil currently stand at about 45m tonnes. In 2016-2023, they grew by 14m tonnes, including 2.5m tonnes in 2023 alone – a record for the last four decades. This means we have something. The use of new technologies and the expansion of seismic exploration and drilling enabled us – starting from 2017 – to ensure an increase in oil production by an average of 20,000 tonnes per year,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

However, the Head of State considers such rates insufficient. At the meeting, Aleksandr Lukashenko guided those present to take a comprehensive approach in that matter. “What are the prospects for the development of wells, and what measures will be taken with regard to the hard-to-recover reserves? How many years ahead are exploration plans in place? Are there enough in-house specialists and equipment?" he wondered.

The Belarusian leader stressed that there can be no secondary issues in the economy, because the country’s sovereignty and people’s well-being depend on its stability. "This is the most important point. Therefore, I would like to repeat once again: go and explore, search for what the country needs," Aleksandr Lukashenko said. Of course, the conditions for oil production in the fields available in Belarus are not the simplest, and it is necessary to take into account economic feasibility, but – as noted by the President – there are examples in the neighbouring countries, in particular in Russia, when fields are being developed and oil is being mined in similar conditions.