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Amur GPP will reset the economy of the Far East

The largest Far East construction is on schedule: before the commissioning of the first start-up complex of the largest gas processing enterprise in Russia, less than two years remain. By 2025, the plant will reach its design capacity - 42 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year

Amur GPP will reset the economy of the Far East
Photo: Photos provided by the press service of Gazprom Refining Blagoveshchensk LLC
In early April, the Ministry of Eastern Development and the Arctic reported on the successful approval of the plan for the future development of the Free Liberal Democratic Torrent in the Amur Region. According to the ministry, this priority development area today is the leader in the Far East in terms of investment: “A powerful gas-chemical cluster is being created in Svobodny, long value chains are gradually being formed on the basis of advanced technologies, from primary gas processing to final production. The core of the priority development area is the project of the anchor resident of Gazprom processing Blagoveshchensk and promising: SIBUR Holding PJSC in the Svobodnensky district and JSC Tehnoleasing in Skovorodino, ”- reported the Ministry of the East of Russia.

The residents of TOR are Gazprom processing of Blagoveshchensk LLC, which serves as the customer and investor for the construction of the Amur GPP, and several companies for the production of building materials. Photomaterials are regularly published in reports from the construction site: the chronicle reflects in detail the process of how an enormous enterprise literally grows in front of its field to become the flagship of gas processing in the country.

According to EastRussia analytics, TOP "Svobodny" is not only the leader in terms of declared investments (about 950 billion rubles), but in fact today is the largest construction site in the Far East. As of September 2018, about 28 billion rubles of investments have already been made here. At the end of 2018, the implementation status of the Amur GPP was 28,35%, and by the end of February it reached 32%. Today, more than 14 thousand builders work at the Amurskiy site, and at the peak of work this figure will reach 25 thousand people.

Gas processing is a new branch for the Amur Region. The energy complex of the region has traditionally been based on the local coal and hydro-potential of two tributaries of the Amur - Zei and Bureya. Thanks to the work of two hydropower stations, Zeya and Bureyskaya, the Amur Region has traditionally kept the lowest electricity tariffs in the DFO, generously shared power with its neighbors, and even supplied electricity for export to China. Traditional industries for the region are agriculture, mining, transport. Since the time of the USSR, a number of processing enterprises have been operating. There was no gas in the region, and its appearance is connected exclusively with the government’s initiative to build the Power of Siberia export gas pipeline system.

In May 2014, Gazprom and the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) signed the Sales and Purchase Agreement for Russian gas via the eastern route (the Power of Siberia gas pipeline). The agreement was concluded for a period of 30 years and provides for the supply of 38 billion cubic meters of gas to the PRC per year. As early as September 2014, construction of the gas pipeline began on the section from the Chayandinskoye field in Yakutia to Blagoveshchensk. A year later, the Amur Gas Processing Plant was founded in the Amur Region. The date October 14, 2015 became a kind of milestone - on the only site cleared among the Far Eastern hills, a solemn event was held with the participation of the President of the Russian Federation to drive the first pile.

The Amur GPP is an important link in the technological chain of future natural gas supplies to China via the Power of Siberia gas pipeline. First, the plant in Svobodny will carry out “pre-sale” treatment of natural gas in accordance with the technical requirements of the Chinese partners - drying, nitrogen removal, etc. But the key importance of the enterprise is to extract valuable components - helium and various hydrocarbon fractions (ethane, propane, butane) from the gas supply from the Yakutsk and Irkutsk gas production centers and to monetize them. Something (for example, helium) will be exported, something will be in demand on the domestic market. For example, Sibur has already agreed with PJSC Gazprom on the supply of about 2 million tons of ethane from the Amur GPP per year and is laying claim to substantial (up to 1,5 million tons) volumes of liquefied hydrocarbons (LPG).

The design indicators of the Amur GPP already indicate that it will be the largest gas processing plant in the country and the second largest in the world. By 2025, the plant will reach its design capacity of 42 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year, with the prospect of increasing it to 56 billion cubic meters. For comparison: in 2017, all gas processing plants in Russia processed 74 billion cubic meters of gas. The capacity of the Amur GPP will make it possible to produce about 2 million tons of ethane, 1,5 million tons of LPG (1 million tons of propane, 500 thousand tons of butane), 200 thousand tons of pentane-hexane fraction and 60 million cubic meters of helium.

The project implementation will allow to fully “reload” the economy of the Amur Region: the formation of a new industry will entail the creation of high-tech industrial chains, and this will include new taxes and qualified personnel. The regional authorities and the Ministry of the East of Russia pin high hopes on the project and provide assistance using the full range of possible support mechanisms. In this regard, it is not a secret that the “Free” advanced development territory was originally created for the Amur GPP project. Moreover, the parameters of the enterprise turned out to be how large that the “standard” benefits had to be further adjusted. For example, the Amur GPP is one of the key stakeholders in the mechanism for extending the tax breaks for major investors in the PDA (the measure began in the first quarter of 2018 of the year). According to the adopted amendments to the Tax Code, for projects with investments exceeding 500 billion rubles, the benefit on corporate income tax must be extended from 10 years to 19 years. The need for an appropriate adjustment was justified by the leaders of the Ministry of Eastern and Eastern Development by the fact that over a period of 10 years, established by the basic legislation on ABD, a large enterprise will not have time to build up, reach its design capacity and start generating profits. The implementation schedule of the Amur GPP fully confirms this thesis: the design capacity of the plant will be reached only in the 2025 year, that is, in 9 years after the start of construction.

The construction site of the Amur GPP today looks like a huge anthill or a beehive. By the way, the association with the hive is not without reason here: one of the construction suppliers, the company PTK Pchely Svobodny (a concrete producer), has branded its production facilities and transport into bright and friendly yellow and black colors. Only the concrete plant will need more than 430 thousand tons, so that the "bees" mixers scurry around the site day and night.

The size of the main construction site of the plant is about 800 hectares, the total area of ​​land plots of all facilities of the Amur GPP is over 1,8 thousand hectares. We started with large-scale earthworks, since the height differences in the area of ​​the construction site were 60 m.From scratch, we had to create the necessary conditions in order to start construction - back in 2016, there was no electricity or water on the site. Today, the site planning has been fully completed, the entire infrastructure for construction has been built: 27 km of access roads have been commissioned, a temporary berth has been built on the Zeya River, and the construction of a 17,5 km railway line from the Trans-Siberian Railway to the plant site has been completed. Three temporary construction camps have been erected. The first two, for 3,5 and 5 thousand people, are already settled. By the beginning of May this year, the construction of the third temporary shift camp for 17 thousand builders will be completed.

Building materials and equipment are delivered to the plant site around the clock. Large-capacity and large-sized equipment during the summer navigation period is delivered along the Zeya River. A bright milestone last summer was the delivery of demethanizing columns by water (each of which is almost 90 meters long and weighing almost a thousand tons). The equipment produced in South Korea arrived at the port of De-Kastri in the Khabarovsk Territory, and from there, by river transport, went up the Amur to Zeya. For the passage of the water caravan through the shallow sections of the Amur tributary, dredging works were carried out and even synchronized with the Zeya hydroelectric power station: the dam additionally flooded the river. In total, the transportation took about a month, and bright video frames of huge columns, filmed both from the shore and from quadcopters, flew around the Internet.

Total builders have to pour over 430 thousand cubic meters of concrete, which is comparable to the construction of 170 monolithic multi-storey buildings, mount more than 170 thousand tons of steel structures - this is about 23 Eiffel Tower.

There are less than two years left before the commissioning of the first lines, - noted in LLC “Gazprom processing Blagoveshchensk”- Ensuring this term is a gigantic labor of thousands of builders. If at the end of 2018 the number of personnel at the construction site reached 10 thousand people, then during the peak period, which will be in 2019-2020, about 25 thousand people will be involved here. 

By the end of 2020, construction and installation work will be completed on all facilities of the plant economy, the first two processing lines for natural gas processing (each with a capacity of 7 billion cubic meters of gas per year), which include a helium purification and liquefaction plant with a capacity of 20 million cubic meters of gas per year. The first starting complex consisting of two technological lines of the Amur GPP should be put into operation in April 2021, by the end of the same 2021, the third line will be launched. As a result of the phased commissioning of the end of 2024, six gas processing lines and three helium fine purification and liquefaction plants are scheduled for commissioning, and the plant will reach its full capacity from January 2025. At the same time, the infrastructure is being built with a reserve: if necessary, it will be possible to build two more technological lines at the site to process another 14 billion cubic meters of gas per year.

The Far Eastern city of Svobodny was born thanks to the infrastructure project of the Stolypin times - the construction of the Amur railway. The city was founded a little over 100 years ago, in 1912 year. It was assumed that the city of Svobodny, which is favorably located at the intersection of the new highway and the Zeya River, will eventually become the capital of the Amur Region. But his fate was different. Now there are only 54 thousands of inhabitants. Of the sights - with a dozen monuments of the Soviet period and the country's longest children's railway.

Is the city of Svobodny in its current state suitable for the role of a reference settlement for the largest gas processing cluster in the country? The question is, by and large, rhetorical. Favorable transport logistics - the intersection of a navigable river, a railway, a gas pipeline and a road transport network at one point - has largely determined the place of construction of the enterprise. But the fact that the level of social infrastructure, to put it mildly, is not competitive, already now creates difficulties for the investor in attracting personnel to the enterprise.

OOO Gazprom pererabotka Blagoveshchensk emphasizes that a gas processing plant is not an oil or gas field, which is operated on a rotational basis. This is a complex and high-tech production that requires qualified specialists who will be employed at the enterprise on a permanent basis. The key success factor in attracting such a significant number of specialists for permanent work in the Far East is the creation of a comfortable environment for living and working in the city of Svobodny. The company is already striving to create comfortable conditions for future employees.

The task of providing a decent social infrastructure in Svobodny was set by Russian President Vladimir Putin. In 2016, the Ministry for the Development of the Russian Far East, together with regional authorities was developed Comprehensive development plan for the city of Svobodny. The document was created by analogy with the program for the accelerated development of the social infrastructure of Komsomolsk-on-Amur and was initially estimated at 3 billion rubles of budget investments. To date, the plan has been supplemented and is estimated at 6 billion rubles. 

In December 2018, in the city of Svobodny, the first object of the comprehensive plan was solemnly commissioned - an apartment building, financed through the so-called “single subsidy” to the regions of the Far East. Speaking at an event, Head of the Ministry of Eastern and Eastern Development Alexander Kozlov He said: “In general, everything is going according to plan. The Amur Region will receive 6 billion rubles for three years. This is money for the construction and reconstruction of social facilities.”

As the Amur Region Governor Vasily Orlov, budget investments are aimed at implementing the long-term development plan for the Free. In 2018, the main focus was on utilities infrastructure, which will be the basis for further construction. Since 2019, the construction of social facilities, such as school for 528 seats, FLC, school sports stadiums, improvement and rehabilitation of roads - the entire 33 facility is planned.

For the operating personnel of the Amur GPP in Svobodny, the construction of a whole residential neighborhood is planned: residential buildings, a school, a kindergarten, a polyclinic, a cultural center, a sports complex. In total, 78 apartment buildings will be built in the new neighborhood, a total of 1688 apartments. All this is the minimum set of social infrastructure facilities that will allow you to fully compete for attracting qualified personnel to the Amur GPP.

Since 2019, Gazprom Pererabotka Blagoveshchensk has begun recruiting and hiring operating personnel for production units at the Amur Gas Processing Plant to participate in the commissioning of power supply, heat and gas supply, water supply and wastewater disposal facilities. Moreover, along with attracting experienced specialists, the company cooperates with specialized educational institutions - it is looking for talented promising graduates. Work has been organized to advance training and targeted training of local youth. After the commissioning of the Amur GPP, the enterprise will employ more than 2,5 thousand people. 
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