Head of Rosatom: NSR project should be international

The Russian government has decided to develop the infrastructure of the Northern Sea Route as part of a separate national project.

Its implementation was entrusted to the state corporation Rosatom, which became the sole operator of this strategic waterway. One of the key reasons for making this decision was the presence of nuclear icebreaking fleet of the corporation, which for many decades has been supporting ships in Arctic ice. The head of Rosatom, Alexey Likhachev, in an interview with Reuters, told how the corporation intends to develop the Northern Sea Route.

LNG is attractive investment project.

– Of course, the national project “NSR” should be a commercially attractive project. Its total value in rubles will amount to 735 billion, among this sum the Russian government allocates 274 billion.

Russian banks and companies operating in the Arctic region – Rosatom itself, as well as Rosneft, Novatek, Gazpromneft, Gazprom, Norilsk Nickel and others agreed to invest the rest money. Under the conditions of commercially attractive cargo support by Rosatomflot icebreakers, these companies are ready to invest in roads, railways, ports, and terminals. Because it is profitable. From the point of view of our tariffs and transportation conditions, we should get into the competitive prices offered by them in foreign markets.

It makes no sense, for example, “Novatek” to increase LNG production, if it does not fall into the global fair competitive area, together with the United States and other producers. It has to provide at least more profitable cost and mass supply, – Likhachev noted.

 NSR – international project

– We need to make the new national project investment attractive and competitive from the side of worldwide global logistics. Therefore, we believe that the Northern Sea Route should be international. You cannot develop it only to carry hydrocarbons from the Russian North. This is not businesslike. We think that due to serious changes in the energy balance of Europe, the European direction will noticeably decrease and deliveries to the Asia-Pacific region will increase. If China and India really begin to engage in decarbonization, the traffic will grow rapidly in this direction.

Step to meet partners

– We generally want to change, in some sense, the history. We are ready to take a step towards international partners. We are ready to do this project with them, inviting them to investment cooperation. We are ready to show how much and really cost. They will see our economy and will be able to make their political decision whether to go to this project or not. If so, then the cards on the table, let’s enter a binding agreement. We guarantee transportation of certain volumes of goods at a certain cost, and you guarantee us the delivery of these volumes. Yes, it will be the price formula, most likely, but in this way we will create a long-term transparent economic model.

Speed factor

The speed is extremely important on the NSR. We will break the ice with our icebreakers, sooner or later we will break it. Not by one – so two. But we must move at a speed of 10-12 knots. And we must move like a train, on a schedule.

Caravans should approach, form, go towards each other. Icebreakers should go ahead. And if we do not provide a speed of 18-20 kilometers per hour, the cost of the shipper immediately begins to grow, and he may fall out of the market.

There are risks, but new icebreakers will help to overcome them.

There are risks, but the project of “Leader” icebreaker is progressing. We agreed that the first icebreaker will be built with public money. The first stage, the design stage, is assumed by Rosneft company, as well as investments in the creation of capacities. The following stages will go along the model of mixed financing – 50% will be allocated by Rosatom and 50% by the state budget.

While icebreaker “50 let Pobedy” lives by 2020, icebreakers LK-60 will work, and one “Leader”, which should be ready approximately in 2026. They are enough to provide ourselves. But if we are already talking about competing with the Suez Canal, and if we are already moving from tens of millions of tons per month to other figures, then it should be a caravan of three “Leaders” – by 2030-2035.

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