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"Strength of Siberia" is strengthened by state support

Chronicles of the Far East megaproject № 1 - "The Power of Siberia"

In September 2015, a comprehensive plan began to be implemented, according to which the world's largest gas transmission project - the construction of the Power of Siberia gas pipeline - received state support.

"Strength of Siberia" is strengthened by state support
The plan was adopted in accordance with the Decree of President Vladimir Putin "On measures to implement the agreement between Russia and China on cooperation in the supply of natural gas from the Russian Federation to China via the" eastern "route. The Power of Siberia impresses not only with its scale, promising geostrategic and economic prospects, but also with its unique engineering solutions: a significant part of the gas pipeline will pass through the most inaccessible territories - rocky terrain, swamps and taiga.

The new gas pipeline will stretch for more than 4 thousand km. It is planned to dock it in the future with the already operating "pipe" from Khabarovsk to Vladivostok, which is part of the Sakhalin-Vladivostok GTS. The annual capacity of Power of Siberia is 61 billion cubic meters of gas.

It was decided to start the construction of a powerful GTS in May 2015, when Gazprom and the Chinese company CNPC signed 30-year-old a $ 300 billion contract for the supply of 38 billion cubic meters of gas per year. The exact parameters of the contract have not yet been disclosed, since the price formula for the supplied gas has not yet been determined. However, experts suggest that the average price will be $ 385 per 1 cubic meters - more than the average annual price of Gazprom's supplies to Europe ($ 380).

The Power of Siberia draws its power from two sources: the Chayandinskoye field in Yakutia with gas reserves of 1,2 trillion tons and the Kovykta field in the Irkutsk region with 1,5 trillion tons reserves.

It is planned that by 2018 the first stage of the gas pipeline from the Chayandinskoye field to Blagoveshchensk (over 2,2 thousand km) will be built, then the Yakutsk field will be connected to the Irkutsk Kovykta pipeline over 700 km long. Docking with the Sakhalin - Khabarovsk - Vladivostok GTS is even more than 1 km, although in the longer term. To optimize costs, Power of Siberia will be built along the existing main oil pipeline Eastern Siberia - Pacific Ocean (ESPO), which will optimize infrastructure and energy supply costs.

The Power of Siberia should give a powerful impetus to the development of the vast territory between Western Siberia and the Far East. The "Pipe" will pass through the southern regions of Yakutia, and the route has been chosen in such a way as to provide gas to the maximum possible number of settlements. According to Yuri Shafranik, chairman of the council of the Union of Oil and Gas Producers of Russia, this project will "literally revive giant distances" between relatively well-equipped territories in the Far Eastern Federal District and Western Siberia. New industries and residential settlements will appear around the gas fields, infrastructure will develop, and new jobs for specialists will appear.

This is a chance for Russian companies in the gas industry that is not expected in the near future. That is why there is already intense internal competition for gas supplies to China via the Power of Siberia. The project itself is the brainchild of Gazprom, and it is this company in this case that acts as a monopoly. However, such giants as Rosneft, Surgutneftegaz and the largest independent gas producer NovaTEK have already raised the issue of abolishing Gazprom's gas export monopoly at the government level by creating a consortium for the Power of Siberia. No decision has been made yet, the discussion continues.

However, Gazprom is still holding its positions firmly. In response to Rosneft's statements about its readiness to supply about 2020 billion cubic meters of gas from its eastern fields to Power Siberia by 16, Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller made it clear that the project has no place for independent producers. Gazprom has already invested about $ 55 billion in complex investments in the construction of the pipeline, the creation of infrastructure, and preparations for the launch of Chayanda and Kovykta. Moreover, in the struggle for the right to sole ownership of the new route, the gas giant even abandoned additional capitalization.

Power of Siberia has significantly revived production at industrial enterprises in Russia that produce rolled metal, pipes, heavy construction equipment and much more. Gazprom has already purchased 34,6 billion rubles worth of pipes for the Eastern Gas Program. In total, the project will require 2,5 million tons of pipes, of which 1,7 million should be supplied to 2014-2018 years. Soon, machine builders, in particular KamAZ, will feel the increase in sales.

The construction of the gas pipeline will also contribute to solving social problems. In Yakutia alone, about three thousand specialists will be involved in one way or another - this is 10% of all those employed in the gas industry of the Far Eastern Federal District. Gazprom is already organizing personnel training, including those from Yakutia, in Russian specialized educational centers, and is stimulating the development of new educational programs. It is assumed that in total about 15 thousand people will find work on the construction of the Power of Siberia.

In the long term, Chayanda and Kovykta should have an effect not so much from gas exports, but rather from the development of the petrochemical sector. These deposits are rich in helium and ethane (up to 200 million tons of ethane, 73 million tons of propane, 44 million tons of butane). The availability of helium is especially important: the world's resources of this raw material are gradually decreasing, and the demand for it is literally growing exponentially. The helium reserves of the Kovykta field are estimated at 2,3 billion cubic meters, the Chayandinskoye - at 1,4 billion. The development of these resources will help Russia to become a leader in the world market. Now the price of scarce helium is dictated by the United States, but at least in the next 10 years Russia has a chance to tip the scales in its favor.

To isolate valuable components of natural raw materials, Gazprom will build a gas processing plant in the Amur Region (in Belogorsk near Blagoveshchensk), where gas will be processed to extract helium and ethane. The start of construction is scheduled for 2015, completion - at . The total cost of the project is estimated at about 620 billion rubles. The gas chemical plant for the production of monomers and the production of polymers is ready to build Sibur together with Gazprom, about which a corresponding document has already been signed. According to Gazprom representatives, there are preliminary agreements on the sale of helium for 20 years with five major players in the global helium market: French AirLiquide, German Linde, Japanese Matheson and American Praxair and AirProducts.

The Power of Siberia project, according to experts, is rather “aiming at the future” given its geopolitical significance, it is still difficult to speak about its direct commercial return. However, even in the near future, the complex effect that it will provide to the Far East and Siberia, will have a beneficial effect on all spheres of life in these territories, and will largely help to overcome the crisis phenomena in the Far Eastern economy and social sphere.
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