Rich natural and resource potential of the NAO is caused not only by the presence of significant reserves of hydrocarbons, but also the length of the coastline, resources of solid minerals and unique natural and climatic complexes.
The subsoil of the district has significant reserves and resources of minerals, including:
In the territory of the Nenets Autonomous Okrug there are 91 hydrocarbon fields.
As part of a special study of natural and resource potential of the area of tundra in the NAO in 2002 there was established a significant mineral resource potential of the area for solid minerals - including types of raw materials that are strategically important and short supply in Russia, such as coking coal and steam coal, manganese ores, non-ferrous ore, rare and precious metals, fluorite, mining raw materials.
There were found shows of nickel, copper, molybdenum, gold, diamonds. On the island of Vaigach there were found shows of lead and zinc and copper ores. In areas of shows it is required to conduct an exploration of the discovered resources.
Hydrocarbons have the greatest value at the moment and in the long term.
According to estimates, conducted by the Ministry of natural resources of the Russian Federation, in the Timan-Pechora oil and gas province there are up to 8.3 billion tonnes of equivalent fuel, including proven oil reserves (categories A+B+C1+C2) - more than 1.15 billion tonnes, including in the shelf zone of 0.4 billion tonnes, and gas - 4.9 trillion cubic meters (mostly in waters). The estimate of total reserves of the province according to the Lukoil is more than 3 billion tonnes.
Physical and chemical characteristics of composition of oil reserves in the NAO are represented by the following types of resource:
light oil: 57.6% of oil have a density of up to 0.87 g/cc. cm
sweet crude and medium sour oil: the proportion of oil with a sulfur content of up to 2% is 74.5% of the total volume.
Conditions for exploitation of mineral resources
From the available fields in the NAO there are 66 in the distributed subsoil fund, 26 are being developed. In the undistributed subsoil fund there are 26% of proven oil reserves and 44% of free gas.
Geological and economic conditions of resources development are characterized by the following factors:
large reserves of hydrocarbon and resources of solid minerals
small depth of hydrocarbon fields
good physical and chemical properties of oil
low development of hydrocarbon reserves
relative proximity to markets
high profitability of the majority of fields
The most promising fields in the Timan-Pechora province are fields named after Roman Trebs and after Anatoly Titov. They constitute one of the largest proven onshore fields in Russia. Oil resources in them are estimated at 140 million tonnes. According to the results of the tender held on December 2, 2010 the contract to receive a license for development of fields shall be signed by OJSC Bashneft.
Oil field named after Roman Trebs is situated 160 km to the north from the Arctic circle, 225 km to the north from the administrative center of the district Naryan-Mar and 220 km from the town of Usinsk.
Field named after Anatoly Titov is located in the north-eastern part of the basin Khoreyverskaya - big negative structure of I order, located between Kolvinsky megalithic bank in the west and the south, Chernyshev ridge in the east and Sorokin earthwork in the north-east.
According to the conclusion of the Ural branch of the Academy of Sciences, the total cost of industrial stocks of solid minerals in the NAO amounts to 150-200 billion US dollars.
The main reserves of coking coal are concentrated in Korotaihinskaya territory of the Bolshezemelsky geological and economic region of NAO - the main reserve for development of the Pechora coal basin; and Verhnerogovskoe field (in the same area) has the largest proven reserves of steam coal at the depth up to 600 meters - more than 3 billion tonnes and is considered as the only object in the Pechora basin for open mining, with the prospective capacity of quarries not less than 50 million tonnes per year.
Non-ferrous metal ores are concentrated in Severotimansko-Kaninsky geological and economic district, near town Indiga. State of the mineral base of this territory is approximate, but prospects for rare elements, iron, manganese, titanium, gold, diamonds, ornamental and jeweller stones are favorably evaluated.
Fluorite is the main form of solid minerals in the Yugorsky geological and economic district of the NAO. Forecast resources in the group of Amderminsk fields amount to about 2 million tonnes. Amderminsk fluorite is suitable mainly for metallurgy and optical industry.
Biological resources of the NAO have a specific character due to the peculiarities of the geographic position and climate. They include significant fish stocks and reindeer herds.
The fishing industry of the Nenets Autonomous Okrug has considerable resource potential. Fishery fund of the district is 3,000 km of sea coast of the White, Barents and Kara seas, more than 4,000 km of watercourses, lots of big, medium and small lakes (161 lakes with a total water surface area of over 100 hectares) and the Delta part of the basin of the Pechora river and 1,542 rivers of 26,624 km long. There are the following systems of lakes: Pilnenskaya, Prosunduyskaya, Urdyuzhskaya, Indigskaya, Golodnaya Guba, etc.
Nearly all the ponds are place for feeding, wintering, breeding and migration of various fish species.
Fish fauna in rivers and lakes is presented by 40 species of aquatic biological resources, and in coastal waters - by 64 species of anadromous, semi-anadromous and freshwater fish, 27 of which are of commercial value:
semi-anadromous - arctic cisco, cisco, broad whitefish, peled, vendace, nelma
anadromous - lamprey, brown trout, Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar), arctic char, rainbow smelt
freshwater fish - ide, pike, grayling, ruffe, perch, burbot, etc.
Sea aquatic organisms are represented by 46 species - plaice, cod, haddock, Atlantic herring, Czech-Pechora herring, navaga, etc.
Main reserves of water biological resources are concentrated in the Pechora basin, which is, in the fishing respect, central water system in the European North, the most densely populated by fish of salmon and cisco complex. The largest commercial value belongs to the mouth area of the Pechora river - delta and delta waterways, Pechora Bay, which, in respect of fishery resources, is perhaps more important than the Pechora sea overall.
In coastal waters of the Nenets Autonomous Okrug there are 20 species of marine mammals, 12 of which are endangered or rare. Among the most numerous cetaceans there are white whale, killer whale, North-Atlantic porpoise and minke whale, among pinnipeds - ringed seal, bearded seal and harp seal. Among sea animals in coastal waters there are ringed seal, Beluga whale, harp seal.
In 1980 in the Nenets Autonomous Okrug there was a considerable number of reindeer (11.7% of the reindeer population in Russia), which decreased in the course of economic reforms of the 1990s for more than 30% (40 thousand heads). According to expert estimates, deer-feeding capacity of the district pastures is 180-190 thousand heads (which corresponds to the figures of 1980); their use currently reaches 97%. As of 01.01.2010 the number of reindeers in the NAO is 163,2 thousand heads.
Central reindeer farms (bases) of the district are situated in the following locations:
The total area of reindeer pastures in the NAO is 13,845,1 thousand hectares (78% of the district). Farms of the NAO use 9,759,65 hectares, and from 1995 to 2006 from the fund of reindeer pastures 457,9 thousand hectares were withdrawn for industrial needs (3.3% of the total area of pastures). Withdrawal of pasture lands, as a rule, is accompanied by the conclusion of agreements between reindeer-breeding farms of the district and the oil companies.
The main volumes of consumption of venison (in weight of meat) all over the world traditionally accounts for the population of northern territories themselves and neighboring areas. In many ways, this is an important social role of reindeer herding for the Far North. An important and rapidly expanding segment of market of venison is currently restaurant business and consumption of venison as a delicacy (the product is characterized by low content of fats) - this segment is globalized, built on an exclusive and eco-friendly nature of the product and exacting for marketing.
The land resources of the Nenets Autonomous Okrug amount to 17,681 thousand ha (100%). Agriculture-related land (73.5%) predominantly consists of deer pastures (99.8%).
The terrain is mostly flat, with the exception of two highland areas: the Timan Ridge and the Pai-Khoi Range (altitude up to 467 m). The terrain is also marked by the marshlands of the Bolshezemelskaya tundra and Malozemelskaya tundra.
Pechora, the main river of the region, and its tributaries, as well as other major rivers and a vast system of small rivers and lakes, which are often joined together by short channels, may make developing the area more difficult.
A characteristic feature of the territory is little share of ground water - 5-10% of the total water balance. Marshes occupy up to 5-6% of the territory. 10-20% of the coast are taken up by tundra gleysols and peat gleysols.
The Nenets Autonomous Okrug boasts unique climatic and historical natural complexes, capable of attracting Russian and foreign tourists:
Flat tundras: Bolshezemelskaya, Malozemelskaya, Kaninskaya. Unique natural landscapes: rolling plains with many lakes and rivers, as well as mountain ridges.
Natural reserves and natural heritage sites: Nenets state Open-Air Museum, the Pym-Vashor thermal spring, the Bolshie Vorota (Big Gate) canyon in the Belaya river area.
Cultural and historical heritage sites: The north of Timan - one of the traditional deer herder migration routes; the Vaigach island - a unique sacred site of the Northern peoples, with ancient Nenets shrines.
Pilgrimage centers: The Pustozersk Complex History and Nature Museum - a potential pilgrimage center for Old Believers.
Vulnerability of local ecosystems and a set of complex natural and climatic, landscape and geological features points to "extreme" nature of the economic and geographical situation of the territory. This results in continued limitations on both the possibility of the NAO's significant natural resources' active involvement in the economic turnover and on the prospective development of the transport infrastructure and of taking advantage of the extended coastline with hydrologically convenient harbors.