Oil companies have lost interest in drilling in Russia

The biggest drop was in Russia, as most international oil companies withdrew from operations there because of the war in Ukraine. Russia went from eight lease sales covering 90,000 square kilometers in 2021 to just three sales covering 9,000 square kilometers this year. The US and Australia also deeply slashed leasing. However, leasing quadrupled in Asia compared to the year before, especially in India and Pakistan, and also saw a boost in South America.

The overall decline is likely to continue as long as Russia remains a pariah for international investors and governments in the US, Europe, and elsewhere withdraw more land and ocean territory from drilling as part of their long-term climate ambitions. According to the International Energy Agency, the world can only meet the climate targets of the Paris Agreement if no new oil and gas fields are approved for development.

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