with Lisa Hannant, Managing Director, The Energy Exchange Ltd.
RussiaEnergy.com had the opportunity to interview Lisa Hannant, Managing Director of the Energy Exchange Ltd., on the final day of the fifth ‘Russia Offshore’ conference, held in Moscow in February 2010. During the interview, Ms. Hannant discussed the positive but realistic atmosphere amongst the attendees of this year’s conference, how the event has developed over its five year history, and her hopes and expectations for future ‘Russia Offshore’ events.
Ms. Hannant, how has the conference gone so far?
It’s been a fantastic event. Year on year, ‘Russia Offshore’ grows. It has a strong presence from operators, both Russian and CIS-related, but also international operators who are now beginning to become heavily involved in the offshore projects which are being developed throughout the region.
The conference this year is sponsored by Total. How do you think that is representative of the way that the offshore industry is developing in Russia?
It’s quite a significant indicator. For a number of years now, the Russian government has instigated cooperation with international operators. The Russian Arctic shelf is certainly a challenging region in which to work. There are vast resources in the gas fields that are located in that region, but the severe climate is something that needs to be addressed on a daily basis, and as such needs the leading global minds, with experience in deep water shelves across the world, to be able to extract that gas and bring it to market.
Cooperation is one of the key words here, and has been one of the major themes of the conference. How do you think that events like this help to inspire the level of cooperation that is needed?
Obviously, there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes in order to bring these huge organisations around one table. But there are many layers involved in the development of these projects: there are the operators and the technical skills that they have, but there is also the sub-contracting activity that goes on at many levels. We feel that conferences of this nature provide that meeting place for all those organisations that have expertise in that field, and can facilitate the community that is needed to be able to bring these oil and gas reserves to market.
This is the fifth of the Energy Exchange’s ‘Russia Offshore’ events. How have you seen the type of participant change over those five years? What kinds of people are coming to the conference today?
There is much more variety, and as projects and feasibility studies develop, those different layers that we just discussed are more heavily involved in the event. We have seen a greater involvement from some of the international players this year. Previously their involvement in these projects was relatively unknown, but following the Shtokman announcement a couple of years ago, they are now more at the forefront of those negotiations. There is strong presence from the likes of Gazprom and Rosneft, who along with the other Russian domestic operators that are involved in the projects, have a strong presence and involvement in the programme’s development.
How would you describe the atmosphere at this year’s conference? Is it one of optimism, or of knuckling down to do the real hard work?
I think the latter probably reflects exactly what’s going on. There is a lot of work that is being undertaken currently on feasibility studies. The economic climate of the last twelve months has made companies reassess the validity of those projects: where the gas will be going, where it will be sold, and how it will compete on the international market.
What are your hopes for the sixth year of ‘Russia Offshore’ next year?
The event continues to grow. The initial meeting we held five years ago was a good launch. Year on year, the amount of participants grows – in terms of the delegates, the speaker level and the commercial companies that now are involved in these projects. The event grows usually by around 25%, and next year, we certainly hope to see that trend continuing, if not on a larger scale.