Russia Eyes Greater Energy Dominance as Novatek Taps Arctic
Almost 1,500 miles from Moscow, the tiny port of Sabetta nestles in a desolate Russian Arctic peninsula. A former outpost for Soviet geologists, it’s now the site of Russia’s most ambitious liquefied natural gas project, operated by a company that only entered the market just over a year ago.
Several times a week, a giant tanker leaves this remote place carrying the super-chilled fuel to buyers in Europe and Asia. It’s not the only LNG plant beyond the Arctic Circle, but it’s by far the largest.
Novatek PJSC, the main shareholder of the Yamal LNG plant, says plans for further projects will transform Russia into one of the biggest exporters of the fuel within a decade. Already the world’s top exporter of pipeline gas and second-biggest shipper of crude oil, exports from Sabetta are giving President Vladimir Putin’s Russia another conduit into the world economy for the country’s unrivaled energy resources.
“Russia can be in the top four main LNG exporters,” Novatek’s Chief Financial Officer Mark Gyetvay said in an interview in London.
Showcasing The Potential
Novatek has demonstrated that it’s possible to produce and liquefy the fuel in such harsh conditions at competitive prices and ship it to markets thousands of miles away in Europe and Asia. That’s helped by receding Arctic ice which is allowing a specially built fleet of strengthened tankers to ship fuel along Russia’s northern coast.
Russia expands LNG capacities with facilities beyond the Polar Circle
This week, Putin will tout the potential for development of Russia’s hydrocarbons at the International Arctic Forum in St. Petersburg. Russia’s leader has been a long-standing supporter of developing oil and gas resources locked under the region’s permafrost. When opening the first production train of the Yamal LNG project in late 2017, Putin said the region gives Russia the opportunity to take up the fuel’s “niche it deserves.”
“We can boldly say that in this century and the next, Russia will expand thanks to the Arctic,” he said at that time.