Traffic on the NSR can reach 75 mln tons to 2025

The traffic on the Northern Transport Corridor that includes arctic seas from the Barents and the White to the Chukchi and the Bering seas can reach 75 mln tons per year to 2025, reported to TASS Mikhail Grigoryev, the member of the Scientific Council of the Russian Academy of Sciences in geology issues and development of oil, gas and coal.

“We have analyzed the extent of companies’ production on approved development projects and seen if applied projects – “Arctic LNG”, shipment of coal from “Chaika” terminal, “Pechora LNG” - are additionally implemented, to 2025 the traffic in the Arctic waters (including the NSR) concerned with the development of mineral resources will reach around 75 mln tons per year”, said Mr. Grigoryev prior to the 2nd International Conference “Arctic-2017”, that takes place on 16-17th of February in Moscow.

As he said, overall traffic on the NSR in 2016 exceed 7 mln tons and in North East passage – 18 mln tons. 

“International transit via the NSR in 2016 has reached to 240 th. tons. This amount does not include pass-through voyages, when a vessel sails through all the Route and calls in an arctic port for cargo delivery. The export of hydrocarbon raw materials arranged the main cargo flow. 8 mln tons was exported from Varandey port in the Pechora Sea, 2 mln tons of cargo flow were provided by Prirazlomnaya oil platform, around 3 mln tones gave Novyy Port”, said Mr. Grigoryev.

The main delivered cargo is connected with the construction of Yamal LNG, most of them delivered by sea and some by rivers. “It is temporary situation, further, the cargo type will be changed, and significant delivery will start. When the Yamal LNG plant reaches estimated capacity it will give 16,5 mln tons of LNG and around 1,5 mln tons of gas condensate. Export growth is already evident: in 2015 the delivery to the ports and harbors of the Northern Sea Route was 73% of total traffic, and in 2016 it was reduced to 43%.”

Hydrocarbon traffic on the NSR, according to experts, should reach 40 mln tons by 2022. Mr.Grigoryev precised that the amount includes only those projects that have existing development projects, almost 25 mln tons will be compiled in the Ob Bay.

Economic development of the arctic region contains 98% of the implementation of investment projects related to the extraction of mineral resource such as Varandey, Yamal LNG, Novyy Port, Dudinka, Norilsk.

According to Mr. Grigoryev, the economic development of the Arctic in the near future will go through the implementation of 15 existing and prospective projects, 11 of them are connected with the development of oil and gas, other 4 - ore and coal.

“Extensive transport infrastructure is developing for these projects: icebreaker fleet, transport and support vessels, port tugs. Development of marine infrastructure goes especially for these projects because they are located far for all gas and oil pipelines. Norilsk Nickel, the company that transports almost 1 mln tons of concentrate, has only one way for transportation - by sea, because there is no railway.”

According to the expert, one of the main tasks is to develop port infrastructure and transport fleet of the NSR. “The main traffic in future will be formed in the western Siberia, in the Kara Sea, and will have direction to the west. According to SCF`s point of view given in 2015 that cargo flow on the NSR in eastern direction will reach 3,5 mln tons per year. If we divide this amount by 90 th. tons – DWT of LNG tanker – we see there are 40 shipments of loaded vessels in eastern direction and the same number of empty shipments on way back in summer-autumn navigation period.”

Mr. Grigoryev pointed that today it is hard to predict the demand for vessels for work in the Russian Arctic. The need for ships should be considered from specific projects, for example, from volume of exploration and appraisal drilling on the shelf. As shown by experience of drilling that discovered “Pobeda” deposit in the Kara Sea, one drilling rig can be operated by 17 support vessels.

Another problem of the NSR development is ageing of fleet and lack of icebreakers. “We have 3 shipping companies – Murmansk, Northern and Lena River – that have been working on the Route. They don’t have enough operating assets for construction of new fleet that is why the ageing of fleet takes place.”

The situation with icebreakers is also concerning: after 2021-2022 4 nuclear icebreakers will be hardly available for providing all the requests from current and new projects – in the Ob Bay, on the Yenisey River, voyages on the NSR and other tasks.

“The need for icebreakers is proportional to the number of ships that need the assistance. Accordingly, if the traffic volume grows, the number of shipments also grows as well as need for nuclear icebreaker assistance – this issue has no solution now”.

The expert adds that increasing of amount of cargo ships with high ice class Arc7 – that are under construction and partly constructed for Yamal LNG and Novoportovskoye field on the Ob River – will contribute to regular shipping. It is significantly important at the stated by Yamal LNG rhythm of gas tankers’ unloading every 40 hours that can provide claimed volumes of production. The trials of the first gas tanker designed for Yamal LNG project -  Christophe de Margerie – will provide a clear idea of possibilities of these giant Arctic vessels up to 300 meters in length and a width of 50 m.

Source: http://www.morvesti.ru/

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