Leonid Mikhelson will not receive state money

In 2020, NOVATEK will not receive a single ruble from the federal budget for its projects. Leonid Mikhelson threatened to disrupt the Arctic LNG-2 project.
As Kommersant learned, not a single project of Novatek, the largest cargo carrier along the Northern Sea Route, fell into the federal budget for 2020, despite repeated instructions from the president and a government decree. The company needs about 124 billion rubles. to create the federal infrastructure of the Morning Terminal and LNG transshipment complexes in Kamchatka and Murmansk. According to Kommersant’s data, the main owner of NOVATEK Leonid Mikhelson again turned to Vladimir Putin in November, noting that the lack of budgetary funds creates risks for the implementation of the Arctic LNG-2 project on time.

The head of NOVATEK Leonid Mikhelson again asked President Vladimir Putin to instruct the government to allocate 103.6 billion rubles from the federal budget for 2020–2022. for the construction of the Morning Terminal in the Gulf of Ob for the NOVATEK Arctic LNG-2 gas liquefaction project. About this “Kommersant” told sources familiar with the situation. Although in July, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev signed a decree (see Kommersant on July 31), the money was not laid down in the budget, only allocation of 41 billion rubles was provided. in the year 2022.

According to Kommersant’s sources, Leonid Mikhelson in his letter to the president warns that the current situation will not allow the implementation of the Arctic LNG-2 project on time - 2023–2025.

Arctic LNG-2, worth $ 21.3 billion and a capacity of 19.8 million tons per year, should become the largest LNG plant in the Russian Federation. Spokesman for Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev told Kommersant that the issue of allocation of funds is being worked out.

This is not the only Novatek project that was left without budget money. In early November, Mr. Mikhelson asked the president to allocate 20 billion rubles. for the construction of an LNG transshipment terminal in Kamchatka (see Kommersant on November 20). The terminal was never included in the national project “Comprehensive trunk infrastructure plan” (KPMI), as well as a similar terminal in Murmansk with a total value of 70 billion rubles, of which the budget should give 0.9 billion rubles. According to Kommersant’s information, Deputy Prime Minister Maxim Akimov, who was in charge of transport, advocated an additional allocation of funds for NOVATEK’s projects in the budget for 2020–2022, given that it was surplus-rated. Rosatom as the infrastructure operator of the Northern Sea Route also supports the allocation of funds for Morning, the state corporation told Kommersant. The Finance Ministry believed that the money should be redistributed as part of the KPMI. But this means that some projects in the plan must be abandoned.

The Finance Ministry told Kommersant that the budget commission (headed by Dmitry Medvedev), when drafting the budget law for 2020–2022, decided to consider allocating funds to the Morning Terminal for 2021 when drafting the budget law for 2021–2023. The terminal in Kamchatka is not included in either the KPMI or other state programs, and budget funds are not provided for its implementation, the ministry said, adding that work is underway to include the terminal in the federal project “Russian Sea Ports”. The terminal in Murmansk is included in the “Sea Ports of Russia”, the issue of allocation of funds is being worked out, the Ministry of Finance noted.

There is another problem - the expansion of the access channel in the Gulf of Ob, which should also finance the budget. NOVATEK agreed with the authorities of Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug that the company will receive an investment deduction from profit tax of 40 billion rubles, and these funds will go to the channel. The YaNAO government explained to Kommersant that the Arctic LNG-2 project will create new jobs and provide additional revenues to the regional budget, which in general will create a multiplier effect for the development of the regional economy. In fact, these 40 billion rubles. have already been transferred to the special account at Rosatom. But, as Mr. Mikhelson writes to the president, the state corporation will prepare design estimates for the expansion of the channel only in the second half of 2020.

In Rosatom, Kommersant confirmed that 40 billion rubles. indeed received, but they, according to the Tax Code, can only be spent on the construction of facilities that are exclusively in federal ownership: underwater hydraulic structures (sea and access channels), and navigation safety facilities. Design and estimate documentation for the expansion of the channel will be prepared on time, noted there.

NOVATEK expects that "the adopted government decisions will be implemented, and work on the construction of federal property both at the Morning Terminal and along the approach channel will be carried out in full and in accordance with the planned completion date in 2022."

The company recalled that these funds are needed to provide most of the NSR cargo turnover, which, according to the presidential decree, should grow to 80 million tons per year by 2024.