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Delays beset Russian Arctic project

Delays beset Russian Arctic project

Moscow: rising energy prices may be improving the economics of expensive Arctic oil and gas resources but developments in the Russian Arctic are not proceeding as quickly as many would like. Now it is understood that the Prirazlomnoye oil field, originally due to start production for Gazprom in 2010, may not now see first oil until 2012. Serious delays at Russia's Sevmash Shipyard which is responsible for upgrading and converting the ex North Sea Hutton production platform are being blamed for the delay which some sources say is down to poor project management.

The project also involves two 70,000 dwt double-acting Arctic shuttle tankers currently under construction at Admiralty Shipyard in St Petersburg, But these too are running late. The first vessel, the Mikhail Ulyanov, should be delivered to Sovcomflot operating subsidiary, Unicom, next month but is not likely to deliver until the turn of the year. The second vessel, the Kirill Lavrov, cannot be launched until the first vessel has cleared the out-fitting quay.

Meanwhile other projects involving South Korean and Japanese built Arctic vessels have stuck to their schedules. The ice-breaking LNG carriers Grand Elena and sister vessel Grand Aviva, 145,000 m3 vessels each with four Moss-type spherical tanks, for example, were built at Mitsubishi Heavy and began LNG exports from Sakhalin II earlier this year.  And Sovcomflot has spent some $450m on three 70,000 dwt Artic shuttle tankers to serve Port Varandey on the Barents Sea. The three vessels Vasily Dinkov, Kapitan Gotsky and Timofey Guzhenko and now exporting oil from the Timan-Pechora oil producing province piped to Varandey where it is loaded aboard the tankers via a fixed offshore ice-resistant oil terminal (FOIROT).  [22/07/09]