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The fate of 740 billion rubles of investments will be decided by 1500 residents of the district in the Khabarovsk Territory

In the Khabarovsk Territory, the fate of a project worth more than 700 billion rubles will be determined by a referendum of local residents, who are mostly opposed. This is the second episode in the protest territory, when public discontent goes against the plans of investors.

A meeting of deputies of the Ayano-Maisky District of the Khabarovsk Territory has set the date for a referendum on the fate of one of the world's largest methanol plants in the vicinity of the regional center - the village of Ayan. Voting is due on March 21, 2021. The EastRussia correspondent was informed about this by members of the initiative group from local residents, who made a proposal for a plebiscite. This will be the first such referendum in the history of the Khabarovsk Territory.

The fate of 740 billion rubles of investments will be decided by 1500 residents of the district in the Khabarovsk Territory
Photo: initiative group for the referendum


Although Ayan is considered a regional center, it is a tiny village by Russian standards on the shores of a cold sea. In the entire area with an area of ​​several European countries, barely two thousand inhabitants are recruited. Everyone knows each other almost personally. The quiet, measured life of the northerners was disrupted by the news of the plans of some Chinese investors to build a chemical plant in the vicinity of Ayang for the production of methyl alcohol - an important raw material for the chemical industry in China. Yes, not just a plant, but perhaps the largest in the world. It was reported that the Ayan Gas Chemical Park will produce 10th of the world's methanol. It was planned to lay a gas pipeline to it from the fields of Yakutia. It would seem, what is not a real chance of development for a depressed territory. But most of the locals were ambivalent about the idea.

“We have created an initiative group, there are ten of us the most active: businessmen, pensioners, workers, teachers,” said one of the active supporters of the referendum, Marianna Shtanko-Volostnikova. - In the fall, we organized a collection of signatures against the idea of ​​building a plant. We worked in Ayan itself, in the back part, where the second large village of Nelkan is located. 800 signatures have been collected! This is almost 80% of all voters in the district. With these signatures they applied to the meeting of deputies with a proposal to hold a referendum on the construction of a gas chemical complex. " As of September 2020, when the last election campaign took place, a total of 1586 people out of 1873 residents registered on its territory have the right to vote in the Ayano-Maisky district. 

What are the locals afraid of? There is a problem with work in the area, there are practically no roads, constant interruptions in communication. And here, it would seem, the investor promises to breathe new life into the territory.

“We just don't want a methanol plant here to produce these chemicals. Let the Chinese build it at home, there is a branch "Power of Siberia" to them it is laid. We are sure the Chinese will work there. Our law is simplified. If you get a long-term visa, you can transfer your family here too. First, 6 thousand Chinese will come here, and in 10 years there will be 36 thousand of them. And we will not live in the Ayano-Maisky region, but in some province of Dzhugdzhuria (Dzhugdzhur is a large ridge on the coast of the Ayano-Maisky region - ed.). This is a matter of national security! ”Marianna Shtanko-Volostnikova cites the arguments of opponents of the construction.


The idea to build a methanol plant in the Ayano-Maisky District of the Khabarovsk Territory was first voiced on the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum in September 2019. Then the Far East Agency for Attracting Foreign Investment and Export Support (ANO API) signed an agreement with the Hong Kong investment company Sherwood Energy Ltd. on the intention to build a gas chemical park and lay a gas pipeline to it from Yakutia. creation of all necessary infrastructure. As the press service of the IPA reported then, the volume of planned investments should amount to about 740 billion rubles. It was planned to produce 7 million methanol per year near Ayan.

Photo: administration of the Ayano-Maisky district

  Investor representatives visited Ayan only once. In December 2019, employees of the Chinese corporations Sirius Holding and ChengZhi, together with the designers, flew to the area on an unofficial visit. As the regional administration clarified, there was an attempt to do this even on the eve of the EEF, but then the bad weather prevented.

“A year ago they were able to fly safely from Khabarovsk on a regular plane. There was a regular meeting of the working group on this project. We were surprised by the amount of snow we have. The visit was unofficial. They were interested in sites where a methanol plant could be built. Where the bay freezes over, and where the sea remains open so that ships can call for finished products. They were very interested in the question of the attitude of local residents to the project. Part of the population supports him, hopes for the development of the territory, others are skeptical - they are afraid for the environment, ”said Galina Lyulina, the first deputy head of the Ayano-Maisky district administration, who received the delegation.

Around the same time, investors agreed to answer numerous questions from local residents on the pages of the regional newspaper "Star of the North". In two issues in a row, Sergey Pryakhin, the head of the general designer of the future plant, InterEnergy-Engineering LLC, spoke about the project.

“When choosing a construction site, many options were considered. The site in Ayana is attractive from a logistic point - the possibility of creating not only production, but also a port for transporting products. Many did not believe that it was possible to build the ESPO and Power of Siberia pipelines in difficult climatic conditions, in the deserted taiga. Objects are working. Modern technologies make it possible to build almost anywhere, "the newspaper" Star of the North "quoted Sergei Pryakhin as saying.

He also added that China remains the main consumer of methanol in the world. On the territory of the PRC, there are many plants for the production of methyl alcohol. It is mainly obtained from coal. In particular, one of these gas chemical parks is located in Nanjing - its size is 10 by 10 km, and 20 technological units are located there.

“Placement on the territory of Russia is dictated, first of all, by the availability and cost of raw materials - natural gas, - said Sergey Pryakhin, General Director of the designing plant in Ayana, InterEnergy-Engineering. - Gas processing is a complex production, so the service personnel must be highly qualified. The customer attaches great importance to this - the recruitment of personnel will be carried out primarily from local residents - training takes place during construction and installation work under the guidance of experienced Chinese specialists. Additional training will be carried out at the training base of Sakhatransneftegaz JSC and the training center in Nanjing (China).

The designer drew the attention of local residents to the synergy effect from the construction of such large facilities: related industries are developing - the sphere of catering and consumer services, transport, there is a need for the construction of highways, logging, mining is developing, housing for workers is being built.


In the government of Sergei Furgal, when he was the governor, talks about the project of the Ayan Gas Chemical Park began, this topic was not discussed. On the sidelines, the project was called unrealizable in advance and of little use for the regional budget. Acting Mikhail Degtyarev, who was appointed after his arrest and dismissal through the president's distrust, was forced to comment on the plans of the Chinese company on a "direct line" held in December 2020, when a question about this was received via the Whatsapp messenger.

“This is still an intention, if it comes to construction, then in 10 years. People have to make a decision, and I would do what people want. Format - local referendum, public hearings. You know, the prosecutors came forward, protested the decision of the deputies, I will meet with the heads of the prosecutor's office, we will figure it out, ”Mikhail Degtyarev said then. - I cannot be against, I say: people should decide on any issue. It is planned to build a large facility, it will be useful. But we have a communication problem. Remember the situation in the Testaments of Ilyich, where they want to build a coal terminal. How it all began? Like an elephant in a china shop. They did not explain anything to the people, went to the site and started working. It is necessary to explain to people, tell them, carry out examinations and only then declare the project. I am sure that such large economic projects are needed and residents of the Ayano-Maisky district, if they study everything, they will draw conclusions and can support this plant. This is a matter of communication, but nature must be preserved and people must be listened to, this is my tough position. "


The situation in Ilyich's Testaments, which Mikhail Degtyarev mentioned, is an attempt by the owner of the Elginsky coal deposit - "A-Property" Albert Avdolyan - to start building a transshipment terminal in the Sovgavan region. The project, called Dalny Port, assumed an investment volume of about 30 billion rubles. "A-Property" has started the development of design documentation for the first stage of the terminal in Obmannaya Bay (water area of ​​the port of Vanino), where engineering and geological surveys have begun. However, the new project has caused excitement among local residents - there is a popular beach here. Public dissatisfaction reached such a scale and resonance that although A-Property announced its readiness to pay for housing and communal services of the residents of the village of Zavety Ilyich in the amount of 75 million rubles a year (about half of all payments, based on the amount for 2019) and proposed to create a Fund development of the working village of Zavety Ilyich, to which he is ready to donate 10% of Port Dalniy LLC and, accordingly, 10% of the distributed profits, but in September the head of the Sovgavan region, Yury Bukhryakov, announced the suspension of the construction of a coal terminal at Cape Vesely for three to four years

Obviously, investors from the PRC do not carefully analyze the activity of their colleagues, because the situation is now repeating itself in the north of the Khabarovsk Territory. The Ministry of Economic Development of the Khabarovsk Territory reported that the project of a gas chemical park in the Ayano-Maisky region is at its very initial stage. So far, we cannot even talk about the timing of implementation and whether it will ever be implemented.

“I was personally convinced that public opinion in Ayano-Maisky district is sharply directed against this project. I see this as a serious mistake on the part of the investor. He practically does not appear there, hiding behind the situation with coronavirus infection. It's clear. But, if you enter a territory with such a heavy object, with a complex hazard class, then the first step is to establish interaction, informing the population. There is no other way! - said the Deputy Prime Minister - Minister of Economic Development of the Khabarovsk Territory Viktor Kalashnikov. - People are now heated in relation to this project. No matter how I feel about it myself, objectively the residents have formed such an opinion. People have the right to a referendum; they should not be limited in this. But people should get objective information. "

A meeting of deputies of the Ayano-Maisky district has appointed a referendum on the construction of a gas chemical park for March 21 this year. True, the local prosecutor's office, which had already submitted a protest to the deputies, but it was rejected, still believes that such decisions should be made at the regional, and not at the district level. Now the supervisory authority has filed a claim with the court. Themis will decide whether there will be a referendum or it will have to be canceled. The first hearings on this matter are scheduled in the Ayan permanent presence of the Nikolaev city court for January 26.

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