News review of the events on the NSR
#1 December 2019

1. Fast Internet from Russian provider in the Arctic

Russian provider “Megafon” intends to link the Arctic and the Far East by high-speed Internet by 2023. To do this, it is planned to lay 13.8 thousand kilometers of fiber optic cable from the Norwegian city Kirkines to Japanese Kyotango along the bottom of the Arctic seas.

Branches will be made along the way to Murmansk, Teriberka, Sabetta, Dikson, Dudinka, Tiksi, Khatanga, Yamburg, Pevek, Anadyr, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, Vladivostok and Nakhodka. It is possible that a branch can be made in the Pevek area towards Alaska.

The data transfer rate will be 200 Tbit/s. A project called “Arctic Connect” could cost 1.2 billion rubles. In June 2020, it is planned to begin preparations for marine surveys. The work itself can be started as early as 2022 by the company “Arctic Link Development OY”, which “Megafon” created jointly with the Finnish “Cinia OY”.

“There is a telecommunication critical infrastructure of international importance. That is, all countries are vitally interested in ensuring that it is safe, that it works in real time, and removes all risks. Everyone is interested in this thing that is being formed – both Europeans and representatives of Asia, a common cause arises, ” said Ambassador-at-large for the Russian Foreign Ministry, Nikolay Vermishyan.

2. Private companies invest in construction of nuclear icebreakers

Russian private companies operating in the Arctic – NOVATEK, Norilsk Nickel and others agreed to take a half of the cost of building icebreaker ships.

“We considered that it is wrong to completely shift the costs of infrastructure, which is actually created for commercial companies, to taxpayers. They began to look for sources in the market. As a result, we agreed on a discount for businesses on tariffs for icebreaking support,” said Andrei Ivanov, Deputy Head of the Russian Ministry of Finance.

“Rosatom” company, which owns the nuclear icebreaker fleet, specified that private investors will be involved in the construction of the third and fourth icebreakers of the 22220 project. Among the 100 billion rubles that will be spent on construction, 45 billion will be allocated from the federal budget, and the rest will be allocated to investors.

Earlier, one of the largest banks in Russia, VTB, announced that it was ready to invest 200 billion rubles in the construction of icebreakers.

3. The Russian Arctic becomes single economic zone

The Russian government has approved a bill to create a single special economic zone in the Arctic. In the near future it will be submitted to the State Duma of the Russian Federation.

According to Alexander Krutikov, Deputy Minister for Development of the Russian Far East, there will no longer be separate special economic zones or territories of priority development in the Arctic regions of the country. The entire Arctic zone will receive the same tax preferences.

In particular, it is about benefits for insurance payments, about the possibility of obtaining land in a simplified way, about protecting businesses from excessive inspections by supervisors. It is planned to tie oil and gas projects to the territory where they are being implemented, create services and open new jobs.

“We set ourselves the task of launching these innovations next year,” said Alexander Krutikov.

4. Arctic navigation center will be created in Murmansk in 2020

The Navigation Center of the Northern Sea Route (NSR) will be created in Murmansk by the summer of 2020. It is necessary for the comprehensive organization of ship navigation in the Arctic. The center will provide mariners and ship owners with information, icebreaking support, give recommendations, and routes depending on ice conditions.

– This should be a structure that will see everything and manage everything. Now, such a headquarters actually acts as a division of Atomflot, but it provides only its own enterprises and its work with contractors, and in the future it will have to control and ensure all shipping on the NSR,” said the deputy director – head of the Operations Management and Navigation Support of Directorate of the Northern Sea Route – Alexander Olshevsky.

The creation of base of the new Center is already underway: special software is being written with an increased number of information input channels – synoptic, ice, forecasting, which will be processed, and which provide decisions, recommendations will be given to vessels about possible routes. Another important aspect of the creation of the Center is related to legal support. At the moment, preparation of the draft rules for shipping in the Arctic is being completed for submission to the government. The project provides for the creation of the Headquarters of maritime operations, its functions are prescribed.

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