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Ceremony of first tanker loading under the Yamal LNG project

December 8, 2017, Sabetta

Vladimir Putin launched the loading of the first gas tanker at the Yamal LNG plant. At the President’s command, the fuel began to pump into the tanks of the Christophe de Margerie.

Speech at a ceremony of first tanker loading under Yamal LNG project

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Colleagues, friends,

This is a remarkable day for us all. There are no random people here. I congratulate you all, the entire huge team of NOVATEK all those who worked on this project, and all those who have just got on-board and are now working, on this wonderful occasion, the first loading of the gas carrier, a new tanker named after our friend Mr de Margerie. Unfortunately, he is not with us today. He was one of the pioneers of this project, but we have a tanker named after him.

This is an extremely important sector for Russia. This is not just an important event in our country’s energy sector, or gas production and liquefaction. This is a more ambitious project. What I mean is that we are faced with the enormous task of developing the Arctic and the Northern Sea Route.

Someone has already mentioned the number of jobs created across the country – more than 100,000. Over 30,000 people worked here alone during the peak period, and about 30,000 are working now. I just had a chance to talk with the people who work at this facility. They themselves are saying that personnel is one of the key issues. We need to train employees. We had no reason to train them earlier, since we did not possess this competence, and did not work in this area previously.

We do now. This is not only about mineral extraction and building such gas liquefaction plants. It also means further development of nuclear shipbuilding. Just yesterday, during the Security Council meeting, we discussed our further plans for building the nuclear icebreaker fleet. This is yet another competence that we have and that we will further develop and improve, because we need special-class vessels.

Yesterday, we spoke about building such vessels, which are called Leader and which can break ice of any thickness, absolutely any. What does this mean? This means that the Northern Sea Route and an enterprise advantageously located here can operate and ship its goods to consumers across the world all year round.

Even now, the eastward route is open for six to seven months, and the westward route already year round. With the icebreaker fleet, which I just mentioned – and it is being built and gradually put into service, one of the 60 megawatt vessels will be commissioned soon – and later on, with the development of these projects, shipments from here will be possible all year round. This means Russia will develop the sea route in the medium and long term.

All this is interconnected and secures Russia’s future, the future of its economy. This is certainly a complex project, and we have good people here in this room, good professionals, who warned me at the beginning of this journey: “Do not do this.” When asked why – the first, second, third – the reasons they cited were all really serious. But those who started this project took the risk, and the risk proved to be justified, and they achieved success.

This is only the first part of the project, the first phase of a large 16.5 million tonne project. I am confident that the second phase will be implemented ahead of schedule, as early as next year, and most likely, the third phase will also be completed ahead of schedule, also at the end of next year, at the very least in early 2019. And what is especially important, the fourth phase is being planned already, exclusively with Russian technologies.

Now, speaking here before you, I would like to thank our foreign friends and foreign partners (many of them are with us in this room), because without their help, without their trust in their Russian friends and partners, this project would not have happened either. I am referring to both financing and technologies. The project involved companies from the East, from Europe, all of them took an active part in it. And today's shipping, the first shipment, is our common victory. I very much count on them continuing to work together, in this case for the benefit of global energy development.

And I would like to thank the Russian side for their significant contribution through implementing this project, their significant contribution to attaining our major goals for the development of the Arctic as a whole.

Thank you very much. I am sure that this is only the first step in our magnificent joint work.

Thank you.

December 8, 2017, Sabetta