🇷🇺 New production platform arrives in Utrenneye. It is part of Russia’s big push into Arctic LNG

By Atle Staalesen, The Independent Barents Observer - August 15, 2023
The first gravity-based structure arrives in Gydan. Photo: Belokamenka51 at VK.

Accompanied by 12 tugs and support ships, the 640,000 ton heavy production unit this week docked in the Utrenneye port in far northern Gydan peninsula.

The huge gravity-based structure that set out from Belokamenka on the 21st of July has arrived to its destination on the eastern bank of the Ob Bay.

Photos from site show how the more than 110 meter high installation is towed through the shallow waters towards the new seaport built on pristine tundra lands.

It took 21 days to tow the 640,000 ton heavy production unit more than 2,000 km from Murmansk to Utrenneye. Photo: Belokamenka51 at VK

According to the project operator, the platform spent 21 days on the voyage from the Kola Bay, a distance of more than 2000 km. It is reportedly the first time ever that such a large installation has been towed at sea.

The Utrenneye port has been under development since 2019 and is the logistics hub for Novatek’s grand project Arctic LNG 2. On site are a number of new industrial objects, pipelines and public infrastructure.

That includes housing blocks for several thousand people, an airport, hotel and other facilities.

The Utrenneye airport was opened in 2021. Photo: Novatek

The arrival of the 640,000 ton heavy installation to Gydan is a landmark for the project that will be Russia’s biggest of the kind. Up to 20 million tons of LNG will ultimately be produced on site.

According to Sergei Komlev, head of construction at Utrenneye, the coastal infrastructure on site is almost 100 percent ready. The gravity-based structure is now to be connected to land-based facilities, and the first liquified natural gas will be produced already this year, he says to Rossiya24.

The Utrenneye port is located on the eastern shore of the Ob Bay.

The LNG is based on the resources of the nearby Salmanovskoye field that holds an estimated 1,4 trillion cubic meters of gas.

Despite the mounting international sanctions imposed on Russia following its full-scale attack on Ukraine, Novatek has managed to proceed with the Arctic LNG 2.

The sanctions adopted by the EU and USA in 2022 threatened to deal a fatal blow to Novatek’s LNG projects. But the company has managed to circumvent the restrictions and find alternative suppliers of the goods.

Novatek appears confident that it will be able to complete also its planned second and third gravity-based structures, and shortly after the first unit set off towards Gydan the company shared information about successful progress at the second unit.

The Arctic LNG 2 is one of several major industrial project now unfolding in the area of the Gulf of Ob. The unprecedented industrial development in and around the shallow bay now threatens the unique Arctic ecosystem. The extensive development of the area could have fatal consequences for marine life, and environmentalists now sound the alarm. They especially fear that ongoing dredging ultimately could eliminate rare local fish stocks.

Located in Kirkenes, Norway, just a few kilometres from the borders to Russia and Finland, the Barents Observer is dedicated to cross-border journalism in Scandinavia, Russia and the wider Arctic.

As a non-profit stock company that is fully owned by its reporters, its editorial decisions are free of regional, national or private-sector influence. It has been a partner to ABJ and its predecessors since 2016.

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