The flambeau light and drill tower at the Prirazlomnaya offshore oil platform
© Alexey Danichev

Sergei Romanov: The energy sector may give a boost to Arctic development

The energy sector may fuel the development of Russia's Arctic regions, Sergei Romanov, Deputy Director of the State Energy Policy Department at the Russian Ministry of Energy, said at the Arctic-2017 international conference.

"Energy production is indisputably one of the engines of Arctic development. Oil and gas companies are the first to come to undeveloped regions and start building extraction and processing enterprises there," Mr Romanov said, adding that the development of the Arctic will be a major boost for the national economy in general.

According to Mr Romanov, such projects as Yamal LNG, Sabetta, Arctic Gate, the Prirazlomnaya oil platform, oil and gas extraction in the Yamal-Nenets and Nenets autonomous regions and the development of the Gydan Peninsula are providing a powerful impetus to the development of Arctic regions. It's important, however, that other economic branches should follow suit, he added.

Moreover, the implementation of energy projects will benefit the Northern Sea Route. "Along the Northern Sea Route hydrocarbons will be shipped from the Arctic to Europe and Asian-Pacific countries," the official said. "Importantly, we are not just exporting energy resources, but we are also giving fresh momentum to domestic shipbuilding. After a fairly long break, our nuclear-powered icebreaking fleet is again on the rise: tankers and LNG tankers are being built, and all that is giving a new impulse to our economy," Mr Romanov said.

He called for a balanced approach to the evaluation of Arctic development projects: "The structure of the projects designed for Arctic regions and their evaluation must be approached very carefully, because mistakes there cost much more than anywhere else. The reason is the region's fragile environment."

The second Arctic: Shelf Projects and Sustainable Development of the Regions (The Arctic-2017) conference is being held on February 16-17.

Its key focal points are socio-economic development in the Arctic and Far East; the development of the Russian sea shelf; legislative provision of shelf projects; international experience in exploration and drilling experience in the Arctic. Other high-profile topics include the region's environmental security, the energy sector and the housing and utilities sector in the Arctic, the development of telecommunications infrastructure, the transport and logistics accompaniment to Arctic projects, promoting a better investment climate, and developing international cooperation.