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“The Amur GPP will become one of the most powerful plants in the world”
Governor of Amur Region in an interview with EastRussia spoke about the main projects and concerns of the region
For the Amur Region, 2019 was the time of large projects and large trials - the region had to deal with the flood and its consequences, and after that also with the African swine fever, but this did not prevent it from fulfilling its tasks, attracting investments and handing over such large facilities as transboundary bridge over the Amur. The governor of the Amur Region Vasily Orlov spoke about the main projects and concerns of the Amur Region in the past year in an interview with EastRussia.
- Vasily Alexandrovich, the construction of the Blagoveshchensk-Heihe bridge has recently been completed. How significant was this event for the region, given the fact that they did not invest money from the regional budget in it?
- The importance of the road bridge across the Amur is difficult to overestimate. We are forming a new international transport corridor. It will allow us to fully utilize our transit potential. The bridge creates economic prerequisites for the implementation of a number of investment projects in the region, because it significantly reduces the cost of logistics. We hope that thanks to the road bridge across the Amur, agricultural exports will reach a qualitatively different level.
But the technical launch of the project is only part of a lot of work. What do we do to achieve the greatest multiplier effect? First: we work with federal colleagues to create modern checkpoints that, over the next few years, can provide up to four million tons of cargo and two million passengers annually. Second: we create conditions for companies that are ready to invest in the development of the pre-bridge zone. For this, the territory of the priority development “Priamurskaya” was created in the region. Residents receive unprecedented preferences in tax, customs and other fields, as well as administrative support for their projects.
An important part of the comprehensive infrastructure of the Blagoveshchensk-Heihe automobile bridge will be the largest in the Far East customs and logistics complex Kanikurgan, which will be built by the Region group of companies. The project is planned to be implemented until 2024. The area of about 22 hectares will unite many infrastructure facilities - parking lots, customs clearance blocks, warehouses, cafes and other points. Over 800 new jobs will be created. The first phase of temporary storage warehouses, a truck-stop for parking trucks and buses, as well as an administrative building will be built next year.
We are also in dialogue with Chinese partners to combine development plans for our bridgehead areas to harmonize future processes in logistics and investment.
The issue of building a second bridge across the Zeya River in Blagoveshchensk is also being resolved. Its construction is necessary for the regional center, since with the advent of a road crossing over the Amur, the traffic load on the only Zeysky Bridge will increase significantly. The second bridge across the Zeya River will relieve traffic at this transport hub.
- Another important project for the Amur Region is the construction of a gas processing plant. At what stage is construction now, and what will this plant give the economy of the region?
- Construction of the plant is in full swing - today the project is already 54% ready. The Amur GPP will become one of the most powerful gas processing plants in the world. The design capacity of the plant will be 42 billion cubic meters of gas per year. The GPP will include the world's largest helium production facility.
The plant will consist of six processing lines. Commissioning of the first two is scheduled for 2021. The rest of the lines will be introduced sequentially until the end of 2024. Thus, it is planned to bring the plant to full design capacity from 2025.
Apart from natural gas and helium, the gas processing plant's commercial products will be ethane, propane, butane, pentane-hexane fraction. The investor and customer of the project is OOO Gazprom pererabotka Blagoveshchensk (part of the Gazprom Group). Construction is managed by the general contractor NIPIGAZ (SIBUR Group). The arrival of large taxpayers has significantly improved the replenishment of the regional and municipal budgets, which will increase spending on education and health care, and reconstruct communal infrastructure facilities.
Owing to the participation of the region in the Gazprom-to-Children program, sports facilities have appeared and are being built in several cities and villages at once: sports and fitness centers, school stadiums, ice and sports grounds. Sports and education events with celebrities make it brighter and more attractive for young people. They conduct master classes in basketball, figure skating and science shows.
Space is changing due to the participation of builders of the Amur Gas Processing Plant in the life of the region. Only in the past year, five new playgrounds appeared in Svobodny, equipment was purchased for rural schools and furniture for a boarding school. Employees of contracting organizations helped to counter floods and prepare for the heating season, and collected humanitarian aid for victims of the fire and children in need of treatment. Cultural life has become more saturated and diverse. In 2019, the first festival of national cultures “Free. All mine ”, a gallery of Svobodnensky artists opened at the construction site of the Amur GPP, an open city film club was created.
AGPZ gives jobs. By the way, 37% of the employees of the offices of Gazprom Pererabotka Blagoveshchensk LLC in Svobodny and Blagoveshchensk are Amur residents.
- Recently it was announced that the Amur Region has become a leader in the Far East in attracting investment. In which areas has the most investment come in and are there any foreign investments?
- In January - September 2019, organizations used 198,4 billion rubles of investments in fixed assets, or 124,7% of the level of January-September 2018. The growth in absolute terms amounted to 55 billion rubles.
The growth of investments in the Amur Region is significantly affected by the implementation of large investment projects, including the construction of Vostochny Cosmodrome facilities, the construction of Transneft oil pumping stations, the construction of railway infrastructure facilities, the Power of Siberia gas pipeline, the reconstruction of Lena federal highway sections, and the construction entrances to settlements of the Amur region from the Amur highway. The construction and reconstruction of road sections of regional and local significance, the border bridge crossing over the Amur, Nizhne-Bureyskaya HPP and the construction of the Amur Gas Processing Plant, which we spoke about, also help to attract investment.
- It was claimed that this year the regime of the free port of Vladivostok would be extended to Blagoveshchensk. At what stage is the solution to this issue and what will it give the city and the region?
- The free port mode of Vladivostok is preferential. This will give a special impetus to investment. The spread of the regime to the territory of Blagoveshchensk will allow investors to quickly pay back investments, the annual tourist flow between the two countries will increase significantly. Today, the relevant bill is being approved at the federal level.
- This year in the Amur region there was a flood. How badly has the region suffered and how is the recovery going now?
- The flood that hit the region caused billions of dollars in damage to the economy, roads, agriculture, social services and thousands of Amur residents. The main task during the flood was to prevent the death of people, and we coped with it.
Without waiting for federal support, we allocated money from the regional budget. They understood that people were left without anything, everything drowned, urgent help was needed. Families with affected homes were received 30 thousand rubles each, provided that the water rose above the floor. And we made a new payment - ten thousand rubles for each child in the affected family.
Various support measures were provided for people affected by the disaster: they built stoves, dried houses, delivered firewood, feed for livestock. The victims were paid more than 127 million rubles of compensation from the reserve fund of the region (111 million rubles) and through social protection (16 million rubles). The regional budget allocated 406,7 million rubles to municipalities whose road network suffered from the flood to restore travel on regional and local roads.
The total area of death of agricultural crops was one fifth of all crops - 255 thousand hectares, 329 households were affected. But, despite this, the region's agrarians produced 375 thousand tons of grain crops, 855 thousand tons of our company culture - soybeans, feed for livestock production was fully prepared. 2020% of arable land was prepared for sowing in 76.
We have secured government support for flood compensation. 3,9 billion rubles were allocated to the region - this is an unprecedented amount, and we would like our farms to use it effectively. Compensation for damage to farmers was actually 100%. 464,9 million rubles are provided for the provision of support measures to the Amur residents affected by the flood, including 373,676 million rubles for the provision of social support measures to citizens whose living quarters were lost as a result of the flood; for the provision of social support measures to citizens whose residential premises were damaged as a result of the flood - 91,280 million rubles.
It was originally planned in 2019 to provide at least 150 payments for the purchase of housing and at least 280 payments for the overhaul of damaged houses. In order to achieve the planned values, the Ministry of Social Protection promptly compiled lists of citizens eligible for payments, and proceeded to transfer funds to special bank accounts opened by citizens. On December 27, 2019, the Ministry directed payments to 163 families to purchase housing, 302 families to carry out major repairs. A total of 459 million 285 thousand rubles are currently transferred to Amur residents affected by the flood.
An important moment in the fight against natural disasters, which are occurring more and more often, is timely notification of people and coordinated work of special services. In 2019, we began to create a regional automated system of centralized notification of people to replace the one that has been operating since 1989. This will be the new generation system that we plan to create in three years.
- And how much damage did the African swine fever cause to farms in the Amur Region?
- Total for the region alienated 16 141 heads of pigs. All necessary activities were carried out in full in all in 11 districts. These are Blagoveshchensky, Tambov, Ivanovsky, Mikhailovsky, Bureysky, Magdagachinsky, Arkharin, Konstantinovsky, Belogorsky, Seryshevsky, Zavitinsky. In connection with the alienation of pigs to the population and farms paid compensation - total 206,7 million rubles, including compensation of alienated animals - 180,5 million rubles.
Now specialists of the regional veterinary department are doing a great job to prevent the occurrence of new outbreaks of African swine fever in the region. In villages that have previously fallen into the threatened area, courthouse rounds are conducted, veterinarian inspectors hand out notes to the Amur people and explain the meaning of the restrictions, and at the same time check for violations. With the heads of meat-processing enterprises of the region, they carried out explanatory work on the inadmissibility of raw materials without veterinary supporting documents.
The epizootic situation is constantly monitored - any detected case of the disease of domestic or wild pigs is carefully checked, the animal is examined for ASF. There is also control over the trade in meat or live pigs in markets, weekend fairs and places of unauthorized trade, including on the Internet. Currently, the region is discussing measures to support farmers affected by ASF who want to buy cows or small cattle in return.
- How do you see the Amur region in five years?
- I am sure that now we are laying the foundation for the future new economy of the region. Without exaggeration, I will say that the economic structure itself is changing. Previously, we were mainly an agrarian region, the breadbasket of the Far East, but now new ones have been added to this traditional industry of ours - oil and gas chemistry, space, new colors and volumes are becoming a tourist destination.
All this happens thanks to major projects - “Power of Siberia”, Amur Gas Processing Plant, methanol plant in Skovorodino, Vostochny Cosmodrome, road bridge across Amur, cableway. All this opens up unprecedented opportunities for development before the Amur Region. Hence, new jobs, education that would provide the necessary level of qualification, and the development of science. And no one has canceled the development of hydropower, gold mining. I am absolutely sure that in five years, when all projects will find concrete outlines and results, life in the region will fundamentally change.