Russian Arctic programs are in jeopardy

The strategic program for the development of the North has been cut by the Russian government by 17 times. At the same time it turned out that the construction of nuclear icebreakers "Arktika", "Siberia" and "Ural" was disrupted because of technical problems that arose after the "annexation" of the subtropical Crimea.
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Separating the media content of the ResFed, the issue of developing the Arctic in the form of extraction of any useful hydrocarbons on its territory takes an honorable third-fourth place in the verbal niagara of Russian officials and politicians. All this successfully falls on the general background of militant hysteria: the creation of the Joint Strategic Command "North" and two "Arctic brigades" (80th and 200th motorized rifles), the construction of "military bases" on islands in the Arctic Ocean and the general readiness of the Kremlin At least in words to give in the snout "strategic partners."

Side by side the program of "development" of the rotten Far East is being implemented, where a mocking program of the "Far Eastern hectare" is being implemented. Really, why develop the most populated, European part of the country, including the Urals and the Volga region, if we have a boundless Arctic and a giant Far East with permafrost, gnus and winter for 9 months a year? With hard-to-recover natural resources, it's true. It is there to fill the budgeted billions of rubles, maybe that will happen.

If you do not go deeply into the details, the Russian speaking for the "Arctic" from the 2000s went in the context of global exercises on the theme of "global warming." Agreed even to the fact that soon (very soon) the Arctic is a little podtayut and the Northern Sea Route can be overcome with extraordinary ease. At the same time and export it to "Western partners" the same hydrocarbons and metals. Suffice it to recall that even 13-14 years ago, Russian "Gazprom" seriously considered the project to develop the giant Shtokman field and gas exports to the United States. And in general, the mood of the North-Eurasian officials then reigned the most rosy. This is how the Russian minister Yury Trutnev described them in 2010:

The Minister of Natural Resources and Ecology, Yuri Trutnev, clearly described Russia's position on the shelf: "On the shelf, as a herringbone, you can hang many orders for our industry," he said. "The shelf can provide a guaranteed volume of orders that will pull the industry to the level of modern technologies, Including in shipbuilding ". According to Trutnev, in the "Russian sector" of the Arctic can be up to 100 billion tons of oil and gas reserves. Russia repeatedly applied to the UN Commission on the Law of the Sea for its right to the shelf, but each time it required additional data.

The Apotheosis of Gigantomania was the Program of Socio-Economic Development of the Arctic Zone of the Russian Federation for the period up to 2025 (originally - 2020). Since the end of 2013 it is being developed by the Ministry of Regional Development of the Russian Federation. By early 2017, the department had decided on the budget of the undertaking - 209 billion rubles. Where will this money go? Naturally, not for the construction and reconstruction, for example, of motor roads in central Russia (where more than 20 thousand people per year die) or social infrastructure. It's too much. Here's where:

According to the new version of the state program, money is needed for the construction of the nuclear-powered icebreaker "Leader", the means of lifting sunken nuclear facilities, the development of projects on the continental shelf, the development of new technologies for Arctic needs, environmental monitoring, information policy, support for indigenous small peoples.

In general, Russia has the largest icebreaker fleet on our planet - 40 vessels at the beginning of 2017. This is more than the aggregate of Canada (4), Sweden (7), Finland (6), USA (4), Denmark (4), Estonia (2), Norway (2), China (1). At the same time, the Russian Federation has two powerful nuclear icebreakers with a two-reactor nuclear installation - Yamal and 50 Years of Victory (the third is the Soviet Union, is in reserve), two icebreakers with a single-reactor installation - Taimyr and Vaigach ", Nuclear lighter-container ship" Sevmorput "and 5 vessels of technological service.

Since the Russian nuclear fleet will experience a generation change in the coming years, the planned icebreaker "Leader" was to become a real beauty and pride of Rosatomflot (FSUE Atomflot). Therefore, nuclear naval commanders decided not to be modest: the cost of its construction "by eye" figured at 47-80 billion rubles! Such money should go to create a monstrous power of the ship, capable of penetrating the ice thickness up to four meters! Why such an excess, it is better not to ask.

However, most likely, no icebreaker "Leader" will not be built. In May 2017, the Arctic Development Program was cut down by the Russian government fourfold - to 50 billion rubles, and in early July it became known that in June the cabinet headed by Dmitry Medvedev, scratching the back of his head, decided to allocate only 12 billion rubles. Naturally, this money is not enough for an icebreaker. They will go on more modest goals:

- 7 out of 12 billion rubles will be spent on the design and construction of the ice-resistant drifting platform "North Pole" for Roshydromet, controlled by the Ministry of Natural Resources;
- another 3 billion rubles have been allocated for the modernization of the Zhataisk Shipyard in Yakutia on the Lena River for the construction of new and repair of worn-out vessels of the river fleet;
- 1 billion rubles will be given ... Rosgvardia. The office of General Viktor Zolotov will provide among the polar bears and seals ... "anti-terrorist security", just do not laugh, because the money will obviously be banally stolen;
- The rest in detail: the Kurchatov Institute to raise radioactive rubbish from the seabed will give 300 million rubles, the Ministry of Construction for the study of permafrost will receive 200 million rubles, and so on (Eurasian builders forgot suddenly how to build on permafrost soils), and so on.

The idea of extracting hydrocarbons on the shelf of the Arctic Ocean is blown away in the imagination of Russian statesmen slowly and touchingly. Against the backdrop of relatively low prices for oil and gas, which is walking across the planet of the "shale" revolution and attempts by several countries to extract gas hydrates, the "Arctic" oil at an attractive price of 75-85 dollars per barrel does not look attractive. All this simultaneously with budget sequestration makes the RF quietly lower the "Arctic euphoria" on the brakes. Especially since there are no own technologies for gas and oil production in the harsh Arctic conditions from the ocean floor, and cooperation with Western partners (suddenly!) Is complicated by sanctions for the "annexation" of the Crimea. Well, who could have expected such a thing!

Therefore, so far the only example of hydrocarbon production on the Arctic Ocean shelf is the relatively "uncomplicated" Prirazlomnoye field (the cost of producing a barrel is declared at $ 30-35), located on the shelf of the Pechora Sea 55 kilometers from the Varandey settlement. Here, from the spring of 2014, the sea platform Prirazlomnaya (built in 1995 on Sevmash), operated by Gazprom Neft Shelf, operates. The construction of this sea platform became a real epic, during which oilmen constantly complained about factory marriage, but in the end it managed to put it into operation. But Russia does not yet have a second similar mining installation of forces - here the dreams of hydrocarbon managers hit the hard surface of sad reality.

The budget sequestration is only one side of the peel of the banana, on which the Arctic program of the Resource Federation came to its head. The second is its technical and engineering degradation. The ruling kings in northern Eurasia are convinced that "everything settles everything". However, as the experience in implementing complex technical projects (bridges in Vladivostok, the Sochi Olympics, the production of hydrocarbons on the shelf, the construction of large stadiums and so on) shows, the devil's attitude of elite Russians to engineers and developers turns out to be a breakdown in timing, cost of projects, marriage and malfunctions. In some cases, foreigners can buy it (building an energy bridge in the Crimea, building bridges in Vladivostok, and so on), but they are not enough for all projects.

Another failure came in the way of regular updating of the Russian nuclear ice fleet. In May, "Vladimir" Putin (as the Kommersant publication states in a recent article) decided to postpone the commissioning of the new main nuclear ice-breaker "Arktika" from 2017 to 2019. And the icebreakers "Siberia" and "Ural" - for 2021 and 2022, respectively. In fact, we are talking about a failure of the state order:

About the construction of the "Arctic" Atomflot (owned by nuclear icebreakers, controlled by Rosatom) and LLC Baltic Shipyard (BZS, part of USC) agreed in 2012. Money for the icebreaker - 37 billion rubles. - Provided budget. In 2014, another two icebreakers of the series, Siberia and Ural, were awarded a contract worth 84.4 billion rubles. The "Arctic" was to be commissioned in late 2017, "Siberia" - at the end of 2019, "Ural" - at the end of 2020.

It is noteworthy that the new "Arctic" (the icebreaker with the same name existed even in Soviet times) with a displacement of 33.5 thousand tons, a length of 173 meters, a width of 34 meters and a capacity of 175 MW, was to become the leader of Rosatomflot. The vessel could carry out giant tankers with a displacement of 70,000 tons along the Northern Sea Route. But the ship is not ready. What's the catch?

It turned out that the turbines of the ship were ordered to the Ukrainian Kharkov turbine plant, the cooperation with which after the "krymnas" (that's a surprise!) Ceased. The plant, of course, lost an advantageous order, but in Russia it was not possible to create the necessary turbines quickly. Now, officials are looking for switchmen and are conducting "debriefing". But the sources of Kommersant believe that the "Arctic" before the middle of 2019, you can not wait. In principle, nothing critical in the breakdown of the schedule for the construction of icebreakers yet, except for two things: the rise in the cost of the project in conditions of budget sequestration and real technical capabilities. Therefore, if the terms begin to be constantly transferred in such conditions, then this can be a fatal factor for the project.

Such "troubles" are pursued not only by nuclear icebreakers. The construction of the world's largest diesel-electric icebreaker Viktor Chernomyrdin, which has been going on since 2012, was delayed due to frank negligence and completely wild mistakes in the design. And instead of October 2015, the ship will go into operation at best in the middle of 2018 - if there is no sequestration of the budget and there are no new technical problems, of course.