Russia launches giant gas project in the Arctic

2017-12-11 08:53
(Olga Maltseva, AFP)

(Olga Maltseva, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Sabetta - Russia has launches its Yamal gas plant in Arctic Siberia, a gigantic project in one of the world's most remote areas, as the region becomes more accessible due to climate change.

Russia's privately owned gas producer Novatek has partnered with France's Total and China's CNPC at the helm of the project, which has already sent its first shipment of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the port of Sabetta.

The $27 billion site - one of the most ambitious in the world - is set to start with a production capacity of 5.5 million tons per year and increase this to 16.5 million tons by the start of 2019.

Covered by ice

Yamal LNG, owned by Novatek (50.1%), Total (20%), China's CNPC (20%) and the Silk Road Fund (9.9%) has had its share of financial and technical hurdles over the years.

While the Yamal peninsula has considerable hydrocarbon reserves, it is an isolated region in the Arctic circle, about 2 500km from Moscow and covered by ice for most of the year, where temperatures dip as low as -50°C.

Since its inception in late 2013, an airport and a port have had to be constructed for the project, as well as gas reservoirs and the LNG plant itself.

"Despite challenging operating conditions, Yamal LNG was delivered on time and on budget," said Samuel Lussac, an oil and gas specialist at Wood Mackenzie. "That is unusual in the LNG industry".

Despite the project's completion, Yamal LNG still faces risks and the coming months will show "whether the plant can operate smoothly in the harsh Arctic environment", Lussac said.

Transportation through the Northern Sea Route also remains undeveloped and "its feasibility as a major LNG delivery route is unclear", he said.

Conventional route

Russia wants the route to become a shorter, easier passage to coveted Asian markets and has built several massive icebreakers in recent years.

It is also hoped the project will contribute to understanding how to navigate the Northern Route and "give more clarity into the potential development of the Arctic", said Sberbank-CIB analyst Valery Nesterov.

The route along the northern coast of Siberia allows ships to cut the journey to Asian ports by 15 days compared with the conventional route through the Suez Canal, according to Total.

Read more on:    russia  |  environmental affairs

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.