Russian oil giant Rosneft on Wednesday announced the start of operations for its giant Vostok oil project in the arctic, part of the country’s strategic energy plan which has been criticized by environmentalists.
“It is with great pleasure that I inform you of the start of the practical implementation of the project,” Rosneft chief executive Igor Sechin told Russian President Vladimir Putin at a meeting in Moscow.
He thanked Putin, with whom he has close relations, for the adoption of a law facilitating Russian investments in the arctic.
“The prospecting and exploration work are now underway, in accordance with our timetable,” Sechin said, adding that the design work for a 770km oil pipeline and a port had been completed.
The strategic plan for Russia’s mineral resources stretches to 2035 and is banking on growing global demand, although it does predict that natural gas will partially replace oil and coal.
“Mineral resources will remain a competitive advantage of Russia’s economy, and will determine the place and role of the country in the world,” it says.
Environmentalists last year urged the Russian government to stop granting licenses to exploit several arctic deposits.
The Vostok project, the cornerstone of Russia’s arctic ambitions, brings together several Rosneft activities in the Russian Far North, near the northern sea route that the company intends to exploit to deliver to Europe and Asia.
In February, Sechin promised Putin that the scheme would create a “new oil and gas province” on Siberia’s Taymyr Peninsula, the northernmost part of the Asian continent.
The complete project would represent a total investment of 10,000 billion rubles (US$132.2 billion), including two airports and 15 “industry towns.”
The project has also been forecast to create 130,000 jobs and allow access to estimated reserves of about 5 billion tonnes of oil.
The construction alone would require 400,000 workers, Sechin said.
Last week, Rosneft announced the sale of 10 percent of the project to Singapore’s Trafigura Group, without mentioning a price. The Russian group had previously said that there was interest in the project from India.
The arctic endeavor would eventually produce 100 million tonnes of oil per year, Sechin said.
From now to 2024, 30 million tonnes would be sent from the arctic along the so-called Northern Sea route connecting the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific, he said.
China has possibly committed “genocide” in its treatment of Uighurs and other minority Muslims in its western region of Xinjiang, the US Congressional-Executive Commission on China said in a report on Thursday. The bipartisan commission said that new evidence had last year emerged that “crimes against humanity — and possibly genocide — are occurring” in Xinjiang. It also accused China of harassing Uighurs in the US. China has been widely condemned for setting up complexes in Xinjiang that it describes as “vocational training centers” to stamp out extremism and give people new skills, which others have called concentration camps. The UN says that
A racing pigeon has survived an extraordinary 13,000km Pacific Ocean crossing from the US to find a new home in Australia. Now authorities consider the bird a quarantine risk and plan to kill it. Kevin Celli-Bird yesterday said he discovered that the exhausted bird that arrived in his Melbourne backyard on Dec. 26 last year had disappeared from a race in the US state of Oregon on Oct. 29. Experts suspect the pigeon that Celli-Bird has named Joe — after US president-elect Joe Biden — hitched a ride on a cargo ship to cross the Pacific. Joe’s feat has attracted the attention
The Polish Supreme Court on Friday quashed a lower court’s green light for the extradition of a businessman to China for alleged fraud, a charge he has denied, saying that he is being targeted for supporting Falun Gong. Polish authorities took Chinese-born Swedish citizen Li Zhihui, now 53, into custody in 2019 on an international warrant issued by China for alleged non-payment in a business deal, Krzysztof Kitajgrodzki, his Polish lawyer, told reporters. Following the Supreme Court ruling, the case would return to a lower appellate court for review. Kitajgrodzki told reporters that it was still not a given that his client
DELIVERING HOPE: The Japanese PM pledged to push ahead with plans to stage the Games, despite polls showing about 80% think they will not or should not happen Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga yesterday vowed to get the COVID-19 pandemic under control and hold the already postponed Olympic Games this summer with ample protection. In a speech opening a new session of parliament, Suga said that his government would revise laws to make disease prevention measures enforceable with penalties and compensation. Early in the pandemic, Japan was able to keep its caseload manageable with nonbinding requests for businesses to close or operate with social distancing, and for people to stay at home, but recent weeks have seen several highs in new cases per day, in part blamed on eased attitudes