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Wednesday, 19 December 2018 22:17

Eight pillars and one road

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Russia has no other way but to explore the Arctic. To this end, the reference macro-region created eight development zones, and the Arctic will be connected together via the Northern sea route. The plans are ambitious, but quite real


The Arctic, or as these lands are called, the Russian Arctic, has a special place in the Russian economy. It is in these territories, where less than 2% of Russians now live, that more than 11% of the country's gross domestic product is created and more than a quarter of its exports are provided. 95% of Russian Nickel and cobalt, more than 80% of gas, 25% of oil, 60% of copper, 100% of barite and Apatite concentrate are already produced here. It is here that the main mineral resource base of our country is located-gas, oil, coal, non — ferrous metals and one of the world's main treasures of modern man-made civilization-huge reserves of clean drinking water.

The economy of Zapolyarny projects thus ambiguous. Construction and maintenance of one kilometer of railway infrastructure, for example, costs about five times more than in the southern latitudes. But the cost of production of liquefied natural gas is at least a third lower than in Qatar. This affects the pace and industry specifics of projects implemented in the Arctic. But in General, Russia in the XXI century has no other way but to deploy a full-fledged industrial development of mineral resources of its Arctic zone. Because otherwise, the Chinese will master the Arctic

Oil and gas breakthrough

According to the plans of the government of the Russian Federation and the largest national companies in the Russian Arctic in the next five to seven years should be put into operation about one and a half hundred projects for five trillion rubles, four trillion of which should be funds from extra-budgetary sources.

Half of them are associated with the extraction and processing of minerals in the Arctic. The pioneers here were LUKOIL, which from the end of the last century began to develop the Timan-Pechersk oil and gas province, Norilsk Nickel, whose main production base was and will be connected with the North of the Krasnoyarsk territory, and Gazprom, which has long been targeting the fields of the Yamal Peninsula (the first Bovanenkovo fishery he launched there in 2012). The national gas concern also pioneered the production of hydrocarbons on the shelf of the Northern seas, putting in 2014 the first and today the only Russian Arctic offshore oil and gas platform "Prirazlomnaya" on the shelf of the Pechora sea. The main oil asset of the gas concern is Gazprom Neft, which successfully launched Novoportovskoye and Messoyakha group of oil fields in the Arctic. "Rosneft", in turn, bringing the Vankor field (it is also considered polar) to the" shelf " of production of 22 million tons per year, began industrial development of other fields of the Vankor group — Boat, Tagul, Suzun — and continues, despite Western sanctions, preparation for work on the shelves of the Kara and Barents seas.

But the real star of the Russian fuel and energy Sector in the Arctic in recent years, of course, was NOVATEK. Leonid Mikhelson's company recently launches the first phase of the largest Arctic natural gas liquefaction plant (LNG), which is being built on the basis of the South Tambeyskoye field on the Yamal Peninsula. "This project is a symbol of international cooperation in the Arctic. Despite the sanctions, financial institutions of Russia, China, Italy, France took part in its financing. The plant itself is built on the best technologies in the world. Yamal LNG will become one of the powerful sources of replenishment of both the Federal and regional budgets. But it's not just about tax revenues. Thanks to this construction, a total of about 60 thousand new jobs have appeared in Russia, more than 600 Russian enterprises have already received orders for 580 billion rubles," — the Governor of YANAO Dmitry Kobylkin estimates this project.

Now NOVATEK is preparing to build a second LNG plant in Yamal, the base for which will be the deposits of the Gydan Peninsula. As in Yamal LNG, the main partners of Arctic LNG 2 will be the Chinese-China development Bank and China national oil and gas Corporation. The implementation of this project will create 50-60 thousand new jobs in Russia, including in the Murmansk region, where the company this year has already started to create a special shipyard for the construction of hydraulic platforms for Arctic LNG plants. According to the head of Leonid Mikhelson, it is possible to produce up to 80 million tons of LNG annually and create a hub with a share in the global LNG market of more than 15%.

New mining projects are also developing in the Arkhangelsk region (mining of diamonds, zinc, lead and copper) and on the Taimyr Peninsula. Nickel, cobalt, copper and platinum are mined on the Taimyr Peninsula from the beginning of 1940-ies. But, according to experts, the deposits of the Peninsula during this time were explored by no more than 10%. Norilsk Nickel, for example, intends to increase its annual ore production and processing by more than a third by 2025. "East-Coal", in turn, this year sent the first batches of Taimyr coal along the Northern sea route to China. Dmitry Bosov's plans include the development of coal production in the Taimyr region in the amount of up to 30 million tons annually. However, the degree of their implementation will directly depend on the construction of two new Arctic ports on the Peninsula, through which this coal is supposed to be transshipped.

Reliance on zones

These large-scale industrial projects should become the drivers of the development of the Northern territories. However, in order for them to really become such, an approach is needed that was used in the development of the Arctic in Soviet times and allowed to create not only industrial production here, but also cities — Vorkuta, Salekhard, Norilsk, etc.That is, to develop the Arctic not on an industry principle, but on a territorial one.

As a tool for such development, the government intends to create in each of the eight Arctic regions a reference zone — the territory, which will be developed as a holistic project on the principle of interconnection of all "sectoral" activities at the stages of planning, goal-setting, financing and implementation. The geography of the zones is laid down in their names: Kola, Arkhangelsk, Nenets, Vorkuta, Yamalo-Nenets, Taimyr-Turukhanskaya (or Norilsk), North Yakut and Chukchi.

According to the plan of the Ministry of economic development, as outlined in prepared by the office of the new draft law on the Arctic zone of the Russian Federation, during the implementation of projects in support zones of the state and investors will have to take on so-called irrevocable commitments. In particular, the state undertakes to ensure the creation of infrastructure and provide incentives and preferences to investors, investors promise to invest in projects and implement them. A prerequisite is the conclusion of an investment agreement by the company with the region. The volume of preferences for companies in the draft law of the Ministry of economic development is not specified, but it is indicated that for "anchor" investors who implement investment projects worth more than 100 billion rubles in the support zones, they will necessarily be. It is also proposed to create a Fund to support projects in the Arctic to provide financial support for the development plans of the support zones — it will be formed from the Federal budget, contributions from the Arctic regions and investors. The latter must pay at least 20% of the cost of the infrastructure created under the agreement, or enter into a concession agreement for its construction. The Fund's funds can be used both for infrastructure and support of investment projects, and for research related to the development of new technologies adapted to the Arctic conditions.

This bill, in fact, fixes the already established relations between business and the state in some Arctic regions, for example in the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous district. The new Arctic port of Sabetta, worth about 100 billion rubles, from where the Christophe de Margerie gas tanker is due to start recently, is being built by joint efforts of the Federal government and NOVATEK. The railway from Sabetta to Bovanenkovo, which will connect this port with a single network of Railways of Russia, is created on the principles of concession. Investments "vis Transstroy" in this project will amount to 113 billion rubles. The Northern latitudinal railway (SSHH) will be built on the principles of the concession.it will cost almost 300 billion rubles, which will connect the Northern and Sverdlovsk Railways in the center of the Yamal — Nenets Autonomous district and thus ensure the flow of goods to Sabetta from the Volga region, the Urals and Siberia. These two infrastructure transport projects will become the backbone elements of the Yamal-Nenets support zone. "Today, Yamal is more than a trillion rubles of investment in fixed assets, more than half of GRP and 72 percent of investments in the entire Arctic zone of the country, 653 billion rubles of tax revenues to the Federal budget. The future of our region is connected with the development of the shelf and with the shift of industrial centers further to the North, to the Yamal Peninsula, where there is no transport infrastructure. For the region to continue to generate stable revenues at all levels of the budget, it is necessary to invest in transport. The movement to the Arctic is already a resolved issue, it is necessary to develop the infrastructure," says Deputy Governor of YANAO Dmitry Artyukhov.

In the Komi Republic, the list of investment projects for the reference zone includes the development of the mine field No. 1 of the Usinsk coal Deposit (initiators — Vorkutaugol, Severstal) and the mine field No. 3 of the Usinsk coal Deposit (Usinsk GOK-3, Novolipetsk metallurgical plant). The government of the Arkhangelsk region as part of the reference zone is ready to announce ten projects, including the construction of the deep-water area of the Arkhangelsk port, the development of the Pavlovsk Deposit of lead — zinc ores by Rosatom, the construction (with the participation of Chinese capital) of the White sea — Komi-Ural railway (Belkomur). The Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) expects that the North Yakut reference zone will include such projects as the full commissioning of the Berkakit-Tommot — Nizhny Bestyakh railway, the resumption of the work of the Tiksi sea port with the processing of up to 300 thousand tons of cargo per year, the modernization of the Zhatai shipyard. The main specialization of the Kola support zone is supposed to be the service provision of navigation along the Northern sea route and the implementation of projects for the development of oil and gas offshore fields in the Russian sector of the Arctic, the production and processing of aquatic biological resources and various types of strategic minerals.

Pilot projects of the Arctic support zones will be launched in 2018. The Russian government expects that after 2020 all of them will start full-fledged work.

The great Northern route

One of the strategic objectives of the Arctic reference zones is the development of the Northern sea route (NSR) as a national shipping artery. In this case, the state is investing in the development and construction of new ports, such as Sabetta, a new icebreaker fleet (now three new Russian nuclear icebreakers worth more than 100 billion rubles are being built in St. Petersburg), and is developing a system of support for ships on the NSR. The Ministry of defence has a special role to play. The network of military bases, which the military Department creates in the Arctic, in fact, will be the "backbone" of the security complex (in all senses of the word) of the passage of ships along the Northern sea route. And one of the companies of the Ministry of defense may well be endowed with the functions of a single operator of traffic on this route (according to open data, the military themselves annually carry up to a million tons of different goods on the Northern sea route). Industrial giants, in turn, such as Norilsk Nickel, NOVATEK, Gazprom Neft, in the future — Vostokugol, are building new vessels of enhanced ice class for Arctic transportation and provide a cargo base for the Northern sea route. Norilsk Nickel, for example, over the past ten years has created a modern fleet of container ships of enhanced ice class ARC7, which now maintain regular communication between the sea ports of Murmansk, Arkhangelsk, Dudinka and carry out direct flights with export products to European (Rotterdam, Hamburg) and South Asian (Busan, Shanghai) ports. By order of NOVATEK, a fleet of 15 supertankers of ARC7 class is being created, the first of which is now under loading in the port of Sabetta.

A separate topic is the modernization and construction of new ports on the coast of the Arctic ocean. Frankly speaking, out of a dozen and a half sea ports that worked on the Northern sea route in Soviet times, three remained full-fledged by the beginning of this decade: Murmansk in the West, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky in the East and the patrimony of the "Norilsk Nickel" Dudinka, on the right Bank of the Yenisei. And now, in fact, a new system of support ports of the NSR is being created.

The extreme port points remain the same. In the next eight years, it is planned to develop the Murmansk transport hub and Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. But the center of the NSR will significantly increase. In 2012, it received the status of Dudinka international port, in the development of which Norilsk Nickel has already invested more than five billion rubles. To the North of it, near Dixon, "Vostokugol" began to build the port of Chaika with a capacity of 15 million tons per year. To the West, on the North-Eastern tip of Yamal, the new Sabetta port, which now provides half of the NSR load, has been operating for three years in year-round mode. In a few years, when sabetta is connected by the Bovanenkovo — Sabetta lines and the Northern latitudinal line with the unified railway network of the country, according to the Ministry of transport, up to 70 million tons of cargo will be transported annually through It. There are good prospects for the ports of Arkhangelsk, Tiksi and Anadyr.

And this year in Russia can be adopted a law according to which the transportation of minerals (and they will soon be the lion's share of cargo turnover on the NSR) in the waters of the Northern sea Route will be carried out by ships only under the Russian flag. According to the authorities, this will increase the volume of sea transport, strengthen the position of domestic shipping companies and create additional opportunities for the renewal of the Russian fleet. "The internationalization of the NSR can be good only in terms of transit. In terms of the export of minerals that are mined in the Arctic zone and exported by the NSR, it seems appropriate to us to fix the cargo base for the national flag," says one of the initiators of this idea, Deputy Minister of transport of the Russian Federation Viktor Olersky.

This idea is clear and absolutely justified. The Russian leadership considers the Northern sea route primarily as the most promising national route that can provide the shortest (and most economical) delivery of Russian goods to the markets of Europe and the Asia-Pacific region, and as a means of integrated development of the Russian Arctic zone. And in the second place as a new international transport corridor. Because unlike Egypt, which earns on the fact of the passage of ships through the Suez canal, Russia's ability to charge foreign vessels for transit through the NSR is limited, in fact, fees for icebreaking and pilotage. But the trouble, especially about their impact on the environment of the Arctic zone, with transit foreign ships can be very much.

The implementation of the planned industrial projects in the Russian Arctic, developing in cooperation between the state and business in the eight polar support zones, by the end of the next decade will increase the cargo turnover along the Northern sea route by an order of magnitude. And when the necessary infrastructure is created in the Russian North, this route will be in demand among foreign carriers. "If the route is structurally prepared, then it will be in demand, and huge," — said the Director of the Chinese Polar research Institute Huigen Yang. And at the beginning of the next decade, China intends to direct up to 15% of its huge foreign trade turnover with Europe not through the Suez canal, but by sea along the Russian coast of the Arctic ocean.


Source: http://expert.ru/expert/2017/49/vosem-opor-i-odna-doroga/

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