- Transformation is the result of solving difficult tasks. What is the one for Yamal right now?
Everyone knows - one of the main cargo on the peninsula is hydrocarbons, which are used as raw materials to produce high quality fuel: gasoline and aviation kerosene of the best brands. Thus, delivery of raw materials to processing facilities is one of the main objectives. Currently, hydrocarbons are transported in tanks via the Sverdlovsk railway road to the port of Ust-Luga on the Baltic Sea, from where it is shipped to customers for processing into finished products. But the Sverdlovsk railway road is extremely overloaded, it cannot ensure proper transportation of future scheduled shipping. The Transsib is bludgeoned and choked, the speed of traffic today is 18 kilometers per hour. Meanwhile, the construction industry of Yamal, for example, has a severe shortage of materials. We make graphics, calculate and re-calculate, get things tied to navigation - which is four months of the year. The absence of any normal regular transport scheme seriously blocks the industrial development of the region.
- Have you found any solution?
As an example - an enterprise under construction - Novy Urengoy Gas and Chemical Complex. It will locally process gas into final products - polyethylene. Today the absence of transport availability prevents the company from producing a number of products, which it is intended for. We cannot ‘push’ produced goods outside the limits of the undeveloped transport scheme. After the launch of the Northern Latitudinal Route, this enterprise will receive short and guaranteed access to western regions of Russia and the European market. Our companies that produce crushed rock in the Polar Urals, for instance, will be able to safely transport it to another part of the region - Novy Urengoy, Noyabrsk, or Nadym. Today this is unrealistic, and the only solution is to order products at enterprises of the Urals region and transport them along the same, very busy railway road network at a higher price.
In addition, there are fields that are now unprofitable because of the lack of any transport infrastructure. It is logical to assume that, after the construction of the Northern Latitudinal Route, subsoil users are more likely to develop deposits, which are currently unprofitable. A railway road is the only mode of transportation, which can guarantee cargo delivery on time, regardless of weather conditions and traffic jams.
And, of course, all shipments from Siberia, the Volga region, Central Russia will have direct access to the Northern Sea Route through the port of Sabetta. From there, virtually all roads are open to them.
- The project of the Northern Latitudinal Route is not considered without binding it to the port of Sabetta. Does this mean that the port is planned to be tied not only to shipping of LNG?
Sabetta provides access to the Northern Sea Route. Raw materials from all over Russia can be delivered to Sabetta and then go along the Northern Sea Route. Indeed, the port will be a multi-functional platform, moving forward the country’s economy. In addition to servicing the Yamal LNG, Sabetta will perform another task - it will be a starting point for cargo shipping. Neighbouring regions will be able to meet their demand in all types of export. The port will be available to industrialists, trade expeditions, oil and gas companies. Everyone, for whom the Northern Sea Route is a necessary condition for development of their production. This will be a key to the entire northern logistics, a starting point for movement forward. Our main concern now is to put our ideas together, to bring the Northern Latitudinal Route to completion. Then we can talk about the second breath of the North.
- What stage of implementation is the project at?
Facilities on the Northern Latitudinal Route have already been included in the Transport Strategy of Russia up to 2030, as well as the federal target programme on development of the Russian transportation system (2010- 2020). This has an enormous meaning for Yamal. Our region is the energy heart of Russia. Today, the ‘heart’ has a very small artery. For healthy living, we need a full-blooded aorta.
The Northern Latitudinal Route will provide a permanent link to the ‘mainland’, connecting the Northern and Sverdlovsk railway roads. The Obskaya-Salekhard-Nadym-Korotchayevo main railway will open the access to the Northern Sea Route and the Arctic shelves, enhancing transport security of Yamal and Russia. The project has been supported by the President of the Russian Federation, approved by the Government of Russia, its early implementation is really highly anticipated by residents of the region.
- What is your assessment of the effectiveness of the Northern Sea Route? Are there any visible results?
The effectiveness of the Northern Sea Route is high, whatever they say. Companies, shipping along the Northern Sea Route, will be able to save up to 30% on transportation costs. It has already been demonstrated by the commercial expedition Tyumen - Sabetta - China, successfully completed last autumn. The multi-purpose dry cargo ship Inzhener Trubin travelled to the East not with gas and oil but with raw materials for the metal processing industry of China, foods, Tyumen wheat to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. Therefore, potential commercial benefits of the journey were based not on the high cost of goods but on efficiency and speed of delivery. The example of this expedition enables us to truly appreciate the advantages of this transport corridor.
One can tell that for Yamal transport is a guarantee of survival. While living in the 21st century, we realize that without transport infrastructure there cannot be any socio-economic development of the region. Therefore, great efforts are applied in this direction. Eventually every resident of the region will benefit from it. After all, people, living and working in such harsh conditions, deserve comfort.