The construction of one new atomic icebreaker "Leader" will cost the Russian budget 99 billion rubles. In total, at the Zvezda shipyard, which Rosneft and Gazprombank are building in the Far East, three such icebreakers should be built. This was reported by the Kommersant newspaper on Monday, October 15, with reference to a report sent to the government by the head of Rosatom, Alexei Likhachev, on October 3, 2018. This amount does not include VAT, as well as a bank guarantee, insurance and nuclear fuel for the first boot. The contract for the construction of the first icebreaker is planned to be signed before the end of 2019, so that the laying of the vessel will take place no later than February 2020, and its delivery - in 2027. The construction of two more icebreakers is scheduled for 2023.
September 11, Russian President Vladimir Putin supported the proposal to fully pay for the construction of three icebreakers at the expense of the federal budget, the newspaper notes. But budget financing will begin only in 2020. In order to meet the deadlines for laying the first icebreaker, Rosneft agreed to allocate the shipyards in 2019 an advance of 3.5 billion rubles for the zero stage of creating design documentation, the newspaper writes referring to a letter from Deputy Prime Minister Yury Borisov and the head of Rosneft »Igor Sechin, September 6, 2018 (later the advance will be refunded from the budget). The Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Economy and Rosatom must find funds for a bank guarantee, insurance for the entire construction period and the purchase of nuclear fuel for the first load by November. Another 950 million rubles will be allocated by the Ministry of Industry and Trade for R & D to develop an icebreaker electric propulsion system.
Cargo traffic on the Northern Sea Route by 2024 should reach 80 million tons per year. At the same time, only Novatek, billionaires Leonid Michelson and Gennady Timchenko, in 2026 plans to transport 43 million tons of its LNG via the Northern Sea Route. By this time, the Atomflot data release results, three Arctic-type icebreakers will be built. But the resource of the icebreakers “Yamal”, “Vaigach” and “Taimyr”, which has been prolonged earlier, will be exhausted. Thus, the demand for the nuclear icebreaker “Leader” with a capacity of 120 MW, which is able to provide year-round assistance to ships along this route, is great.
The head of Rosatom, Likhachev, previously estimated Russia's spending on building an icebreaking fleet by 2030 at an astronomical sum. “Do you know how much money you need? Half a billion rubles. I am pretty sure that the state will not give us half a trillion rubles in a pure form, ”he said in May 2018.
From nuclear submarines to icebreakers
The shipyard Zvezda in the Bolshoy Kamen Bay in Primorsky Krai specialized in the repair and modernization of Russian nuclear submarines. In 2009, on the basis of the plant, a project was launched to create a center for civil shipbuilding. The shipbuilding complex “Zvezda” is intended to provide the market with ships for the development of hydrocarbon deposits on the Arctic shelf.
The project began in 2009, the United Shipbuilding Corporation (USC) and the South Korean company Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co. (DSME). In 2012, DSME left the project. In 2015, USC yielded 75% minus two shares of the Far Eastern Center for Shipbuilding and Ship Repair, which included the Zvezda plant and several other shipbuilding sites, to the consortium Modern Shipbuilding Technologies created by Gazprombank (GPB-Industrial Investments) and Rosneft "(RN-Trans JSC). In 2015, the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) of Russia allowed Rosneftegaz to acquire 89.02% of the shares of Modern Shipbuilding Technologies JSC.
In March 2018, the head of Rosneft, Igor Sechin, estimated the “total investment” in the Zvezda shipbuilding complex at 200 billion rubles. The phased commissioning of the Zvezda complex should be completed at the end of 2024.
In 2014, President Putin supported the idea of concentrating offshore orders on Zvezda, stating that oil and gas companies should build ships in Russia. In July 2015, the head of Rosneft, Igor Sechin, sent a letter to Putin proposing to oblige Russian oil and gas companies to build ships only at the Zvezda shipyard. It was about introducing special legislative incentives to place all orders of Russian companies, including Gazprom, Novatek, Lukoil and others, for the construction of ships and marine equipment in the Far Eastern Shipbuilding Center and ship repair (DSSS), the main asset which is a shipyard "Star", reported the newspaper "Kommersant".
Putin then ordered the government of Dmitry Medvedev to prepare measures for supporting shipbuilding on the basis of Rosneft’s proposals.