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Russia has plans to invest 13.5 trillion roubles in development of the Arctic region

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As per today, transit traffic through the water areas of the region is mainly provided by two projects. These are Novoportovskoye oil-gas condensate field and Yamal LNG. As expected, in 2018 the total amount of hydrocarbons exported from the area should have exceeded 15 million tons. While that number is 2.5 times above the figure of 2017, it is still relatively small. But is it realistic to increase cargo carriage volumes? After all, despite the harsh climatic conditions and permafrost, significant amount of recoverable oil reserves is located in the Arctic region. According to Alexander Novak, Minister of Energy of Russia, "about 25% of total Russian reserves of oil-gas condensate mixture and 72% of gas reserves are located in the Arctic shelf areas".

Minister has no doubts that traffic flow via Northern Sea Route will mainly grow through development of oil, gas and coal deposits. The following projects, in Alexander Novak’s opinion, are the ones, which, if implemented, will accelerate reserves development process in the Arctic: the "Arctic LNG 2" plant at the Gydan Peninsula, the field Pobeda on the Kara sea, which supposedly holds up to 130 million tons of oil reserves and 500 billion cubic meters of gas, as well as two more projects at the Taimyr Peninsula.

If all four projects are carried through, then, according to the Minister, the outgoing flow of hydrocarbons could probably reach 65 million tons by 2024, 95 million tons by 2030 and somewhere between 130 and 160 million tons by 2035. However, these plans implementation also requires infrastructure development at the Northeast Passage and well-timed recommission of icebreaking fleet. These actions, in turn, require investments. According to preliminary estimates, the total amount of investments in Arctic related projects will reach 5.5 trillion roubles by 2024. In order to finance existing investment programs, a total of about 13.5 trillion roubles will be required by 2050.

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