Sabetta: about life of the country and region before and after the triumphal start in the man township of the Russia
The event recently discussed by the community of qualified experts has finally happened. The loading ceremony of the first LNG tanker Christophe de Margerie has taken place. The first line of Yamal LNG plant was put into operation with the participation of the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin.
At this time of the year, there is almost no sun in Sabetta and the temperature is about -30 degrees. However, it can be said that they were lucky with the weather. All the planes have landed successfully, including Aircraft No.1. Wearing no hat, the President is slowly examining the second and the third technological lines of the plant. Vladimir Putin is sharing his first impressions in the central controllers room from where the entire plant is operated.
- Did you see the Northern Lights on the way?
- No, I could only see the lights of your plant. These are new, real, high-tech "Northern Lights"!
Apart from jokes and talks about the northern romanticism, the employees are touching upon the hottest problem – staff shortage. Specialists working here have come from all over the country. And if LNG production continues to develop – and it will – where to get more? Our universities do not train them yet.
‘In fact, we did not use to need such qualifications. Actually, these are our first steps. For what purposes would we have educated such specialists? Wouldn’t it have been in vain? We did not have such projects. They are starting only now. It is very important for you to succeed. And you have already succeeded. It is obvious. And when it is seen that you have succeeded and that such projects are going to multiply, vocational and higher education colleges will adjust to the needs,’ says the President.
After leaving his autograph, the Head of State is welcoming hundreds of guests waiting for him and starting the loading of the first tanker with LNG from Yamal.
Vladimir Putin emphasizes, ‘With no doubt, this is a very difficult project. There are some very good people in this hall, very good specialists who were telling me in the very beginning ‘We should not do this’. When I asked why, they gave many reasons, all of them were really serious reasons. But those who started this project took the risk, and it has turned out a reasonable risk. This is only the first part of a big project, the first stage of a big project of 16.5 million tons.’
The first line started operation this week, the second and the third ones will be put in operation in 2018 and 2019, which will triple production volumes. The forth line is planned to be based on Russian technologies and will cost one third the current expenses. Arctic LNG, the second plant on the Gydan Peninsula, will also use “home” equipment and technologies.
“Of course, it will not be like our first plant, it will be constructed on gravity-based structures and we will use mainly Russian materials, almost everywhere. The project has finally brought its first results. Our participation in the project as a region is in constructing a railroad to here. Now we know and we have always known that the President supports the Northern Latitudinal Railway project,’ says Dmitry Kobylkin.
And this is how it all started. July 2012. A time capsule is being put into the first pile of the future berth of the seaport. One year later the port already hosted large-capacity cargo ships. All the equipment for the LNG plant was brought through this port.
‘Before the port was put into operation we could transport cargoes by helicopters, which is obviously very expensive and not very effective or by river, which is possible only three months a year – from July to October. The port gives us the opportunity to work throughout the year,’ says Ruslan Panarin, Deputy Director-General for Supply System Management of Yamal LNG OJSC.
A tiny village of geologists with 19 residents has evolved into a city offering more than 30 thousand jobs. The city has an international airport – the northernmost in the world – with regular flights. It takes only 3.5 hours to fly to Moscow. The plant itself is being built as a Meccano set: 142 huge module parts weighting up to 560 thousand tons. Some of them are as big as five-storey buildings. The modules were transported by sea from China and Indonesia and here they were put together.
Yamal LNG is an international project. Half of its shares belongs to NOVATEK, the rest is divided between French Total, Chinese CNPC and Silk Road Fund. Investments to the project amount to $27 billion.
In total, 15 countries and 650 Russian enterprises have participated in the construction. The fuel from the plant had been sold before the production started.
Evgeny Kot, the General-Director of Yamal LNG OJSC, admits, ‘The important thing is that almost all LNG has been sold, about 96% of the capacity volumes are covered by long-term contracts for the next 20 years and more. The buyers specify shipment mainly to the Asia-Pacific region. We also have direct contracts with China.’
Major international partners of the company have also arrived in Sabetta. The head of Total company and a big Chinese delegation. The guest of honour is the Minister of Energy of Saudi Arabia. Experts predict that by 2040 global demand for LNG will increase by 40 %. Yamal projects will help the country take the lead. That was the main topic of the discussion with the President most of which took place behind closed doors.
Alexander Novak, the Minister of Energy of the Russian Federation, says, ‘Today we talked about what should be done, what measures of support should be taken to implement such projects. Including the measures for the development of Northern Sea Route, support to the domestic machinery construction industry, development of legislation and regulations in order to create opportunities to use the niche that will be tested by the global market.’
‘Russia owns 22 % of global gas reserves, and its share on the LNG market does not correspond to our capacity. At the meeting I presented the data on NOVATEK. With our present reserves we are capable of producing up to 56-57 million tons,’ explains Leonid Mikhelson, chairman of the board of NOVATEK PJSC.
The cards have been stacked in Sabetta’s favour. Resources base of the plant – South-Tambey field – is located nearby. The distance to Beijing or to Paris is just the same. It is convenient and, most importantly, cheaper than any other means of transportation. And the weather “minus” is a big “plus” for the liquefying process. Gas is compressed by the cold. When the temperature drops down to –160, it diminishes in volume by 600 times. LNG storage places are four huge thermos reservoirs. In order to transport LNG from Yamal, 15 LNG tankers will be constructed in South Korea.
The first one was Christophe de Margerie, named after the deceased head of Total company. In one go the tanker transports as much fuel as, for example, Sweden needs for a whole month. This tanker is an ice-breaker itself. After full loading, the tanker has set off for its first, most important, run.