The GDP has positive dynamics and amounted to almost $30 billion in 2015; more than $50 thousand per capita.
Yamal recovers about 80% of natural gas in Russia and about 20% in the world, as well as 18% of liquid hydrocarbons. Many of its fields are considered unique. The Vostochno-Messoyakhskoe filed – the biggest Russian oilfield in development – was launched in the end of September.
Russia gained unique experience in high altitude operations when developing Yamal. The scale of social and economic development we had in the Arctic Circle is unprecedented.
About 12% of Yamal gas has been extracted at the time being. It warms and lights not only Russian residents, but those of 21 EU countries as well.
The Yamal LNG project is one of the most important strategic infrastructural Russian tasks in hand. Russian Novatek, French Total, and Chinese CNPC and Silk Road Fund are building a liquefied natural gas plant capable of producing about 16.5 million tons. The 1st line is to be commissioned in the 4th quarter of 2017, while the 2nd and 3rd are expected to be completed in 2018 and 2019 respectively. I would like to point out that all the gas that is to be produced at the plant has already been bought out in advance.
Yamal LNG is an integrated project. It includes not only gas recovery and production, but transport infrastructure cration as well. The northernmost Russian international airport is in operation since February 2015. The new Sabetta Arctic seaport is to be commissioned soon. The Russian President made a good point by saying that Paris is about as far from Sabetta as China.
The seaport construction caused the Russian ice-breaker fleet development. The Arktika ice-breaker was ceremonially launched June 2016. It is the biggest ice-breaker in the world. Arktika is meant for delivery of Yamali liquefied natural gas. 20 more ice-breaker tankers and 4 ice-breakers are to be built.
Vorota Arktiki Arctic terminal also contributes to the Northern Sea Route work load and need for new vessels increase. It was built near the Novoportovoe oilfield at the Yamal Peninsula June 2016.
Investment projects implemented in the region are not only the biggest ones in Russia; they are some of the most prospective plans in the whole world. 36 out of 56 strategic Russian Arctic circle projects for natural resources development and processing are to be implemented in Yamal, according to the Governmental Committee for the Arctic Development. The combined potential of the projects which are to be implemented in the District by 2020 is estimated at $123 billion.
It should go without saying one cannot possibly speak of such large scale projects without mentioning transport infrastructure development. This is why we have devised and are implementing the Northern Latitudinal Railway project. A new main railway line is to emerge in Yamal; it will link the Sabbetta seaport – and thus the Route, too – with the existing Russian railway system. This will shorten transportation time, as well as reduce its cost, for goods traveling from Europe and Asia-Pacific Region to Ural, Siberia, and Central Russia.
The Route and Railway construction has a multiplier effect. It is estimated the projects implementation will create 4 million jobs in different Russian regions. Foreign investors show interest in the projects, especially the United Arab Emirates. Yamal is willing to work with new partners and enter into private-public partnership with them. We create conditions for development of other commercially viable types of economic activity at the same time. For example, we are finishing construction of the Novourengoysky Gas Chemical Facility; it is to produce polymers highly popular on the international market.
The agricultural industry solves the issue of non-waste recycling development of the reindeer husbandry production. Finnish specialists helped us build 6 high-tech facilities for reindeer meat processing. They produce organic and commercially viable product. These measures allowed us to increase reindeer meat production output almost twofold (2 400 tons in 2015). Dietary production is supplied to not only domestic market, but to EU – Finland and Germany – as well.
Further industry development provides for endocrine-enzymatic raw material stockpiling and “deep” processing. Early experiments proved effective. We are open to and ready for well-intended partnership.
We are also open to cooperation in fishing and fish processing. Unique whitefish resources form the core of the region’s fishery. We are very serious about artificial commercial fish breading development, thus construction and launch of: a plant capable of producing up to 100 million valuable young fish a year; Arctic vessels that significantly expanded fishing area and lent variety to fishing assortment.
We also develop timber industry, have advances in crop farming, and grow in popularity with eco-tourists. Yamal is one of the few regions in the world where there is still Arctic nature and authentic lifestyle of the indigenous North minorities left. One does not get the chance to see such landscapes and meet true Arctic keepers every day. Yamal warms visitors with the warmth of its residents’ hearts despite being cold.
The Russian Arctic, as well as Yamal, its integral part, are firm ground for international talks on the most hot-button issues. We hope our pragmatic approach triumphs over the sanction policy. Western companies whose business is dependent on the Arctic projects implementation to a certain extent are our partners; they have warned their governments against imposing further economic sanctions on multiple occasions. These companies have been collaborating with us despite objective difficulties; they are not going to withdraw from the Russian market. They know Russia is a reliable partner.
The commentary was prepared based on Dmitry Kobilkin’s, the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous District governor, speech in Reykjavik, Iceland, during the IV Arctic Circle Assembly plenary meeting concerned with the “Arctic as an economic development territory”.