Northern Sea Route is not just a dotted line on the map

17 april 2014

“Northern Sea Route is not just a dotted line on the map, it is people and infrastructure”, - declared the Head of Directorate for Transport Economics of the Analytical Center Leonid Azimov, opening the discussion on “Northern Sea Route and its role in the development of the Arctic oil and gas projects”.

During the Conference “Russian Arctic Oil and Gas 2014” the main users of Northern Sea Route – executives of oil and gas companies – discussed the NSR project and its role in the development of energy projects. Experts considered three issues closely related to the NSR exploration: options of energy resources transportation (by sea or by pipeline), supply directions (West or East), as well as its support from the nuclear-powered fleet.

The experts believe that the decision on the ways of transportation is based on the economic feasibility. Economics analysis defines transportation by sea as more strategic; it is more beneficial according to timing and gives possibility to reduce the harmful environmental impact. Besides, Russian nuclear-powered fleet has sufficient vessels of required ice class able to perform transportation.

However, certain number of criteria is needed to make this choice clear and final. West remains the main direction from the geographical point of view. Power engineers consider the possibility working eastward with provided infrastructure, especially taking into account the existing scenarios of decreasing export to Europe. The following countries of South-East Asia express high interest for Arctic resources – China, Korea and Japan. Thought, the decision on the costs of Arctic energy resources for them is still not taken.

As to the using of nuclear-powered fleet, it is required not only transportation of the produced resources. Representative of “Gazpromneft Sakhalin” LLC Alexey Fadeev believes that the role of maritime transport in the material and equipment delivery is high as well. “Oil and gas complex will rely on the nuclear-powered fleet in mining, especially in the Arctic areas which are difficult to access, and in organizing transportation of materials, equipment and personnel as well”, - considers expert.

In general, the NSR project will develop in case of demand. “Northern Sea Route cannot exist without projects that need for their realization”, - the Deputy Director General of the Federal State Unitary Enterprise “Atomflot” Stanislav Golovinsky decides.