Although natural gas is a relatively clean burning fossil fuel, there is a correlation between natural gas consumption and greenhouse effect. In Russia, the domestic market is the main driver of the Russian gas industry. The domestic market accounts for about two thirds of natural gas consumption annually. From 2011 to 2016, there was a steady stagnation in the market. However, since then domestic natural gas consumption has started to grow again (Figure 1).
Figure 1. Natural Gas Consumption, bln m³
Source: CDU TEK, Minenergo
Natural gas plays a key role in the fuel and energy balance of Russia – more than 50% of natural gas is burned annually for the generation of electricity and heat. Since the energy sector is the main source of greenhouse gas emissions in Russia (it accounts for more than 1/3 of total emissions), we can talk about a high correlation between gas consumption in Russia and greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, greenhouse gas emissions also occur during natural gas production – this is an additional factor in this correlation.
By the end of 2021, Russia ranked second in the world (after the United States) in terms of gas production and first in terms of its exports. The volume of gas production in Russia in 2021 increased by 10% compared to 2020 and amounted to 762.3 billion cubic meters.
Figure 2. Gas production in Russia in 2011–2021, bln m³
Source: CDU TEK, Minenergo
Russia exports more than 250 billion cubic meters of natural gas annually. Most of the exports are funneled through pipeline gas, produced mainly in the territory of the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug. Other gas production regions include the North Seas, the Volga Region, the Urals, Siberia, the Caucasus and even the Far East.
To better understand the contribution of the gas industry, it should be noted that emissions in the energy sector declined between 1990 and 2015. In 2015 they accounted for 65.1%, and in 1990 – 74.4%. This decline in energy emissions is largely related to the measures implemented in our country in the field of energy conservation and energy efficiency improvement at all levels of the national economy. The main role in this was played by natural gas, which accounts for more than half of the domestic consumption of primary energy resources in Russia.
Natural gas is low in cost and is the least carbon-intensive type of fossil fuel. These properties give this type of hydrocarbon fuel a special appeal after the entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol. Only from 2008 to 2012, in accordance with Article 6 on joint implementation projects, 15 projects were approved for the transfer of industrial fuel using equipment to gas and the organization of power generation at the expense of combined-cycle gas plants with an estimated volume of greenhouse gas emissions reduction of about 27 million tons of CO2-equivalent.
One of the most important and large-scale programs for the use of natural gas in Russia is the Gasification of Russia Program implemented by Gazprom PJSC until 2025. The program is being implemented in 72 regions of the country.
To date, 78 subjects of the Russian Federation have been gasified with natural gas. The level of gasification of the population by the end of 2021 was 72%. If the efficiency of Gazprom’s implementation remains the same, then by 2030 the level of internal gasification may reach 83%, which will lead to the displacement of more carbon-intensive sources of heat and energy by natural gas. The gasification of the domestic market will allow the country to achieve climate goals faster by reducing the use of coal and fuel oil.
Russia relies on natural gas to achieve its climate goals. I give a thumbs up to the Russia’s use of natural gas, because today it is an advanced industry in the country, in which the latest technologies are being implemented to reduce the negative impact on the environment both in the process of extraction and in the process of burning gas. Today, the country’s leadership sees gas as the main substitute for coal, which helps meet current climate goals.
This Post was submitted by Climate Scorecard Russia Country Manager Michael Oshchepkov
 http://ji.unfccc.int/JI_Parties/DB/6DRH120BQZA26Q78 VQ5FDCS7FTPQIU/viewDFP