Projected LNG plant in Murmansk now on Putin’s table

Vladimir Putin summons key energy industry representatives to a meeting on the construction of a 1,300 km long gas pipeline to Murmansk and a floating LNG plant in the Kola Bay.

By Atle Staalesen, The Independent Barents Observer - September 5, 2023
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Vladimir Putin in late July paid a visit to Murmansk where he met with regional governor Andrei Chibis (right) and Presidential Aide for Northwest Russia Aleksandr Gutsan. Photo: kremlin.ru

The major energy project that is being lobbied by natural gas company Novatek is about to win the support of Vladimir Putin.

The project includes the construction of a floating LNG plant in the Kola Bay and a connecting pipeline from Volkhov, the gas distribution hub located near St.Petersburg.

Putin talks Murmansk LNG in Sochi. Photo: Kremlin

Little information is available from the meeting that is reported to have taken place on the 4th of September, the same day that Putin met with Turkish President Recep Erdogan.

The venue was Sochi, the town on the Black Sea located near Putin’s grand palace and home port for his luxury yacht Graceful.

Around the table were Novatek leader Leonid Michelson and several leading representatives of the federal government and presidential administration. Among them Deputy PM Aleksandr Novak and Presidential Adviser Maksim Oreshkin, two men that recently have been in close contact with Murmansk Governor Andrei Chibis.

There were no representative of national gas company Gazprom in the room.

The meeting comes less that 2 months after Putin himself paid a visit to the Murmansk region. During his visit, the state leader flew helicopter over the Kola Bay and looked down at the waters that are projected to house the gas plant.

The Murmansk LNG is to have a capacity of 20,4 million tons per year and will include three projected trains, the first of which is to be ready in 2027. Gas will be supplied through the connecting pipeline. It is believed to have an annual transport capacity of up to 30 billion cubic meters.

The Murmansk LNG plant is projected to float on the Kola Bay. Photo: Atle Staalesen

The project is developed as Russia’s war against Ukraine has lead to the detachment of Russian gas from the European pipeline grid. The country consequently has abundant volumes of surplus gas that can find new purposes.

Novatek CEO Leonid Mikhelson has already indicated that Chinese investors could help finance the project.

The development of the Murmansk LNG will be a major triumph for Andrei Chibis, the Murmansk Governor that over the past years ardently has worked for the gasification of his far northern region.

The projected pipeline might not only facilitate the building of the Murmansk LNG, but also the gasification key parts of the Kola Peninsula. Today, the far northern region is among the country’s regions with the least level of gasification, and regional heating systems depend on expensive and polluting fuel oil (mazut).


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