• 2016 January 14

    Russia: ice campaign

    Russia is the leader of Arctic development. Apart from Sabetta, Novoportovskoye and Murmansk based projects, Russia is looking into creation of other terminals, reconstruction of Naryan-Mar port and establishment of a container line. Yet, practical development of Arctic infrastructure is not as smooth as desired.

    Break the ice

    There are three large scale port projects under implementation in the Arctic zone of Russia. First of all, port Sabetta is being built under Yamal-LNG project. The second project is aimed at comprehensive development of Murmansk Transport Hub. Finally, Arctic terminal is under construction for transportation of oil from Novoportovskoye field.

    Implementation of the first project proceeds quite fast: construction of the preliminary phase facilities has been completed (access channel and water area of auxiliary berths, auxiliary berths and logistics infrastructure) and the works on construction of the port’s major facilities are in progress (access channel and port’s water area, seaway canal, ice-protection facilities cargo berths and logistics infrastructure). The Yamal LNG project envisages the launch of three LNG trains with a total expected capacity of 16.5 million metric tons of LNG per year. They are to be launched in 2017, 2018 and 2019 accordingly. Besides, the second LNG plant with similar annual capacity is to be built by 2025 as we covered earlier >>>>

    Moreover, Sabetta is supposed to be used for transshipment of cargo onto dry cargo carriers for further transportation along the Northern Sea Route. Reasonability of redirecting cargo flows from other regions of Russia (BAM and Transsib) to Sabetta was covered by RF President Vladimir Putin during his news conference in December 2015 >>>>. For that purpose railway approaches should be built (Northern Latitudinal Railway). The late 2015 saw the signing of an agreement on private-public partnership in construction and operation of the new non-common use railway line Bovanenkovo-Sabetta. It was VIS TransStroi, LLC that won the competition.

    According to earlier forecasts of Dmitry Kobylkin, Governor of the Yamal-Nenets autonomous region, throughput of Sabetta can be as high as 70 mln t per year if all the projects are implemented.

    Construction of the terminal at Cape Kamenny (Yamal) is nearing completion. The facility intended for shipments of oil from Novoportovskoye field is to start operations in January 2016. Tankers will be loaded from an off-shore loading tower with the height of over 80 meters and annual capacity exceeding 8.5 mln t.

    Vyborg Shipyard will build two icebreaking vessels under this project. The keel of the first ship was laid in December. Under the contract, the vessels are to be delivered to the customer before 2018 as we wrote before >>>> 

    As for MTH, its implementation is underway though not as fast as it should be. As of mid-December, 110 units of equipment and 200 workers were involved in construction of the federal infrastructure facilities under MTH project, the regional government says. Drilling-and-blasting operations are being performed for construction of a railway to the left shore of the Kola Bay, ground is being prepared for superstructure of a bridge across the Kola Bay, a junction is under construction at the place of future railway/highway crossing.

    We focus on the North

    Apart from the above projects, Russia is looking into building more terminals in the Arctic zone.

    As we wrote earlier, a floating LNG plant was to appear under Pechora-LNG project in the area of Indiga (Barents Sea), with a 300-km-long pipeline linking it with deposits in the Pechora. Port Indiga was planned as a deep-water port with depths of about 17 m. The project investors are Alltech Group and Rosneft.

    Now, a different project has been announced here. It was initiated by Nenets Oil Company OJSC (with Nenets Autonomous District as a sole founder). The Company is going to build a terminal for shipments of LNG, crude and oil products as well as supplies. Target volume of transshipment is estimated at 30 mln t though the types of cargo and the volumes are being elaborated for yet to be issued Declaration of Intent.

    Nenets Oil Company also has a project on reconstruction of Naryan-Mar port. With the reconstructed Berths No 4 and No5 its turnover is to be increased by 350,000 t per year by 2025. The types of cargo and cargo volumes are under elaboration. Investments into the project are estimated at RUB 3.7 bln. As of today, Commercial Seaport of Naryan-Mar OJSC transships coal, ferrous metal, metal scrap, packaged cargoes etc.

    There is also a project on construction of an oil terminal at Cape Tanalau (Krasnoyarsk Territory, Taimyr Dolgan-Nenets District), on the right bank of the Yenisei River under the project on development of Payakhsky and Severo-Payakhsky fields. NNK-Taimyrneftegazdobycha OJSC is the project investor. The project obtained a positive screening opinion of the state Environment Impact Assessment expertise in late December 2015.

    Besides, there is a plan to build a coal terminal at Beringovsky seaport initiated by Beringtransugol LLC. Under the project, the coal terminal is to handle 10 mln t of cargo per year. The Declaration of Intent was approved by Rosmorrechflot but project implementation was put off till a source of financing is found.

    Arctic Uglesintez LLC is busy with a feasibility study on construction of a terminal for transshipment of synthetic coal, crude, oil products and LNG, an access channel at the Oleneksky Bay of the Laptev Sea under the project on creation of a Taimylyrski fuel and energy complex.

    So, most of the Arctic projects are associated with oil and gas exports. However, low hydrocarbons prices suggest that not all of the mentioned projects will be implemented or their implementation will be delayed.

    Containers will strain towards the pole

    In respect of cargo transportation along the Northern Sea Route, Russia has long been elaborating plans on establishing an Arctic container line. Central Marine Research and Design Institute (CNIIMF) and Marine Engineering Bureau have designed an Arctic container carrier of enhanced capacity for round-the-year navigation at the Northern Sea Route.
    According to Sergei Buyanov, Director General of CNIIMF, the research shows that optimal capacity of such a boxship is 3,000 TEUs. The vessel is to have an Arc7 ice class. Calculations also show it is not reasonable to completely reject the support of Atomflot’s icebreakers as the speed will be lower and fuel consumption will be higher. Those calculations were made with consideration of a 30-pct discount offered by Atomflot under long-term agreements for icebreaker support.

    Marine Engineering Bureau has developed technical specifications as well as rough and preliminary designs. The vessel is to be escorted by a LK-60 icebreaker. 45-MW boxship will have the capacity of 3,110 TEUs including 800 reefer containers. The ship’s width of 33.2 m corresponds to the Panamax type.

    There are design options ranging between 2,000 and 4,000 TEU. The latter is to have an Arc9 class for independent round-the-year operation at the Northern Sea Route.

    The concept of an icegoing container carrier for the high-latitude zone of the Northern Sea Route is based on round-the-year operation of the Arctic container line. Cargo base for this transit line can be formed by coastal trade cargo as well as imports and transit cargo flows between European and Asia via two large hub ports being built in Russia (Murmansk and Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky).

    Icebreaker’s destiny

    Russia is building new nuclear-powered and diesel-electric icebreakers but the process is not as smooth as expected. LK-25 icebreaker Victor Chernomyrdin has run into a major problem. Its construction is more than a year behind a schedule. 

    Commenting on disruption of the construction schedule (the contract deadline was November 2015), USC President Aleksei Rakhmanov said it was caused by the defective design. Therefore, the ship’s architecture had to be changed. “As of today, the issue of additional funding is being considered by the Government. We hope the decision will be made in the nearest future,” said Aleksei Rakhmanov in late December 2015.

    LK-25 icebreaker (Project 22600), Victor Chernomyrdin, was laid down at Baltiysky Zavod shipyard (Saint-Petersburg) in 2012. The shipyard is also building nuclear-powered icebreakers LK-60.

    Vitaly Chernov.