Russia Moves on Arctic Infrastructure and Security; Announces New Port Project for Northern Sea Route

The Russian Minister of Transportation
announced that a new port would be built along the Northern Sea
Route (NSR) at Sabetta on the Ob Bay, which will begin to develop
the extensive natural gas resources on the Yamal Peninsula. This
is a joint project with Novatek, which intends to conduct the
exploration. The port will also be the location of a major LNG
plant capable of handing more than 30 million tons of goods per
year. The construction includes the development of a 50-km-long
sea channel stretching into the peninsula. The port will be
operating year round. Three Indian companies have also expressed
an interest in taking part in the operation.
Similarly, Nikolai Patrushev, the secretary of the National
Security chief, has announced the creation of ten emergency and
aviation rescue centers along the NSR, beginning with the
construction of a center in Dudinka in 2012, close to the Norilsk
complex in the Yenisei River, which separates eastern from
western Siberia, and in 2013 in Murmansk on the Kola Peninsula.
Three of these centers will be built in Chukotka and on the
Anadyr River in the far eastern section of the route. The other
seven will be built further west, at Arkhangelsk, Naryan Mar at
the mouth of the Pechora River, Vorkuta, Nadym, and Tiksi, all
except Tiksi in the western half of the Northern Sea Route. 974
personnel will be stationed in these complexes, with 590 of these
serving in the land-and-sea rescue contingents, and 384 personnel
in air rescue units.
This is just the beginning of the build-up for the Arctic
development envisioned by the Putin Government. These initial
deployments will be followed up with major construction projects
of  new ice-breakers and all-weather craft to deal with the
increased activity scheduled for the Arctic. This was again
underlined by President Putin in a meeting on August 6 with the
Board of Trustees of the Russian Geographical Society, where he
noted the importance of the clean-up of the debris from the
Soviet military period on Franz Josef Land and the recent
conclusion of the Arctic Floating University research and
educational expedition, which gathered important information for
the weather service on the conditions of the coming winter.
A landmark moment of the expedition was the resumption of
the research which has not been conducted in the area for more
than a decade: measuring temperature, saltiness, and other water
characteristics in the so-called century-old slit of the Barents
Sea, the head of the Russian Federal Service for Hydrometorology
and Environmental Monitoring, Alexander Frolov, says. The
expedition also succeeded in setting up 130 hydrological
stations, and collected more than 8000 samples of water, soil,
air, and bio-resources. Putin urged that such an expedition
become an annual affair.

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