Russia to build controversial artificial islands in arctic for gas industry

A Qatari-flagged LNG tanker crosses through the Suez Canal. Photo: Reuters


Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev signs agreement on construction, though analysts puzzled as the location is far from natural gas field

Russia plans to build four artificial islands in the arctic Barents Sea to serve the natural gas industry, though analysts are puzzled by the location as it’s far from a gas field, while environmentalists warn of pollution dangers.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev signed an agreement on June 17 to build the islands in Kola Bay of the Barents Sea at an estimated cost of $420 million. They are expected to come into use from 2020.

The islands will be part of the grand project to build the liquefied natural gas production facilities Arctic LNG 1 and Arctic LNG 2 that will utilize the natural gas in the Gydan deposit in the Gulf of Ob, a bay in the Kara Sea.

The construction will be carried out by OOO Kola Wharf, a subsidiary of OAO Novatek, Russia’s No.2 gas company after Gazprom. Novatek plans to commission its LNG factory around 2022 to 2025, which will  have an annual capacity of 15 to 16.5 million metric tons of LNG.

Authorities didn’t explain why the site for the islands and LNG facilities was chosen to be so far away from the feedstock gas deposit. It was expected that LNG plants would be built on the Kola Bay coast at a site next to the village of Belokamenka.

“It’s not altogether clear at this point exactly which facilities will be allocated on these man-made islands or what the technical purpose of the islands is in the first place,” Igor Yushkov, a senior analyst at the National Energy Security Fund, said in an interview.

Full article: Russia to build controversial artificial islands in arctic for gas industry (The Asia Times)

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