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Videoconference following first docking of gas tanker at Sabetta port

March 30, 2017

Vladimir Putin took part in a videoconference marking the first docking of a gas tanker at the port of Sabetta.

The tanker arrived at the port of Sabetta and made a test docking at the port after going through ice tests in the Kara Sea and the Ob River Bay.

* * *

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Colleagues,

I would like to congratulate everyone on today’s event. I congratulate the Russian participants and our foreign partners. The arrival of this new tanker, designed for Arctic conditions, is a big event in Arctic development, as is the construction of the port of Sabetta, where the tanker docked today. The port was built entirely from scratch. It involved big investment, and uses advanced technologies that will make it possible to develop the Arctic’s wealth, these rich resources you saw and we discussed yesterday on Alexandra Land, in the Franz Josef Land Archipelago. This is undeniably a great event.

 I would like to draw your attention to the fact that in developing the Arctic’s enormous wealth, our basic principle is not to cause any harm. We realise that this region’s ecosystem is very sensitive to any human interference. But I know your work in detail and I know for certain that the port, the ships that will use it, the production methods used, and the transportation system all use the most advanced technology and meet the highest environmental standards. The first of the new ships docked today. Fifteen of these ships will be built in total, with the involvement of Russian shipbuilders.

If we continue working in this way, and at this pace – and I must admit that I am somewhat amazed at the accomplishments and want to congratulate the builders and everyone working on this project – in that case there is no question that Russia can and will become one of the world’s biggest producers of liquefied natural gas. We have everything we need for this and every reason to believe that we can achieve this goal.

I congratulate you sincerely once again. I hope that all the plans for the Yamal LNG project that we are implementing with our numerous foreign partners (when I say ‘numerous’, I mean not only those who are direct shareholders in the company, but also those who in one way or another are taking part in the project’s implementation), will be completed on time. I hope that by the end of this year, or early next year at the latest, as we planned earlier, the plant will start operation and reach its design capacity of 16.5 million tonnes of LNG, and we will continue development from there.

I was briefed just recently on plans to expand projects of this sort. We will help and support you in every way we can.


Master mariner Sergei Zybko: Mr President,

On March 28, at 9 pm, the world’s first ice-class LNG tanker Christophe de Margerie of the St Petersburg-based Sovkomflot Company, with a Russian crew of 29, moored successfully at Yamal LNG’s gas terminal.

The vessel went through hard tests in the ice-bound Kara and Laptev seas. It was the first to go through a special sea channel en route to the port of Sabetta, escorted by the 50 Let Pobedy and Vaigach nuclear-powered icebreakers.

There were no emergencies on the Northern Sea Route, or in the Gulf of Ob. The ship is in good repair and has demonstrated high icebreaking capability in various conditions, and the crew is fit. The Christophe de Margerie is ready for all-season navigation and gas shipping from Sabetta as part of the Yamal LNG project.

That concludes my report, Mr President. Master mariner Zybko.

Vladimir Putin: Thank you.

Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov: Mr President,

The Sabetta seaport is being built under a public-private partnership arrangement and is, for today, the largest Arctic infrastructure project in the world. It includes an approach canal in the north of the Gulf of Ob 50 kilometres long, 300 metres wide, and 15 metres deep; the port proper, with a 130-hectare area; and two strong ice protection facilities.

Total investment is 108 billion rubles, of which 72 billion comes from the federal budget under the federal target programme of transport development, and the remaining one third of the amount comes from private investors.

The port is working as good as in design mode. It received and served about 1,200 vessels of many types and three million tonnes of freight last year. The full implementation of this project not only provided for building a gas liquefying plant but also certainly strengthened Russia’s positions in the Arctic, promoted the development of the Northern Sea Route and the formation of new logistic chains. It laid the infrastructural foundation for the implementation of other ambitious projects in our country’s north.

That concludes my report.

Vladimir Putin: Thank you.

NOVATEK CEO Leonid Mikhelson: Mr President,

NOVATEK and its partners – the French Total S.A. and China’s CNPC and Silk Road Fund – are implementing the Yamal LNG project for 16.5 million tonnes. It will reach full capacity in 2019, and the first unit will be launched in 2017. Total capital investment amounts to 27 billion rubles.

We thank you, Mr President, and the Government for your continued support of the project. Money from the National Welfare Fund came in time, and navigation in the Gulf of Ob is guaranteed. The project is entirely financed with the participation of Russian, Chinese, Italian, French and Japanese financial institutions.

This region possesses especially rich gas deposits, and we will be able to produce more than 70 million tonnes. It is possible to create a hub here accounting for more than 15 percent of the world’s LNG. The available infrastructure will help to achieve this goal quite soon.

Thank you.

VladimirPutin: I would like to thank everyone, our foreign partners as well, above all, of course, our Chinese and French partners, for believing in this project, for taking active part in it and supporting technologically and financially. This is very important. We know that the situation is not the best on the global energy markets right now, but we take the view that demand for energy resources will continue to grow, and we are working for the future.

It is with pleasure that I note that this new ice-class ship, which is one of its kind in the world, bears the name of our late great friend, French businessman and former head of Total, Christophe de Margery, who so tragically left this life. This is very symbolic and it will cement our relations even on a spiritual level, I would say. Let me once again express my hope that this level we have achieved in our work together today will continue to advance our effective cooperation for the benefit of the companies taking part, and for the good of our countries, and will ensure a stable situation on the international energy market and create good conditions for global economic development.

I want to wish you all good luck. Thank you.

March 30, 2017