ARC - Maxim Kulinko: Rosatom works purposefully to create modern Northern Sea Route infrastructure

Maxim Kulinko, Deputy Director of Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation’s Northern Sea Route Directorate, talked with correspondent Kristina Khramtsova and discussed ways to increase freight traffic volumes to 80 million metric tons by 2024. They also talked about measures to offer year-round navigation.


Question: In May 2018, President Vladimir Putin signed an executive order on increasing the Northern Sea Route’s freight volume to 80 million metric tons by 2024. Do shipping companies and the manufacturers have the assets and enough infrastructure along the Northern Sea Route (NSR) and in Arctic ports to deliver the kind of volume in the president’s executive order?

Maxim Kulinko: Certain basic projects can increase freight volume to 80 million metric tons. In late 2020, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin visited Murmansk and instructed corporate managers to deliver more freight via the Northern Sea Route by 2024. The breakdown is as follows: Novatek: 35.5 million metric tons; Rosneft: 30 million tons; Gazprom Neft: 6.7 million; Norilsk Nickel: 1.7 million, for a total of about 74 million metric tons. The instructions include these volumes. Considering the other projected freight volumes, the presidential target will be attained.

Regarding the infrastructure, Gazprom Neft’s Novoportovskoye oil and gas condensate field and Norilsk Nickel are projects with the infrastructure capacity. Novatek projects for liquefied natural gas production already have some of the required infrastructure. Long-term corporate step-by-step development plans are in place. The Rosneft project is developing in a similar manner, and a port in Sever (North) Harbor will be built prior to creating the needed infrastructure in 2023-2024. This port will also have the necessary capacity.

Question: What are the risks that could hamper plans for achieving 80 million metric tons target?

Maxim Kulinko: In 2020, everyone was surprised to see energy markets plummet due to the pandemic. Some investors had to postpone their project plans; we see this as a key risk because it affects market relationships.

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