Russia starts work on Arctic port for $110bn Vostok oil project

Russian state-owned oil company Rosneft has begun work on its Sever Bay terminal in preparation for an immense project to develop a Siberian oil field.

Located on the Taymyr peninsula on the Kara Sea coast, the port will house Russia’s largest Arctic oil terminal.

All construction materials for the remote site are delivered by ship, and so far 20,000 tons of heavy machinery, living quarters, and communications equipment have been delivered, reports The Barents Observer. 

Work will soon start on preparing the sea channel and the port site. When complete, the terminal will handle oil production from the vast Vostok field, which is expected to deliver 25 million tonnes of oil by 2025 and 100 million tonnes by 2030.

The Moscow Times reports that the huge scale of the port and the oil project are expected to require some 400,000 workers.

As well as the port, Rosneft will have to build highways, two airports, 15 villages, electricity plants and will sink up to 6,500 wells.

It is also building 10 ice-class tankers, with strengthened hulls and engines powerful enough to push through ice floes, to transport the oil to Europe and Asia, as well as 770km of pipeline to take the oil to the port.

The Moscow Times reports that the total investment in the Vostok project has been estimated to be $111bn.

The development of Vostok and the construction work in the Arctic has attracted criticism from environmental groups.

According to the Barents Sea Observer, Rosneft has said the Vostok Oil is "environmentally friendly" and that it has "a very small hydrocarbon footprint". Furthermore, the oil installations will reportedly be powered by wind turbines and gas from the field.

The Observer said construction is being carried out by the Joint Energy Construction Corporation, while design is by St Petersburg-based multidisciplinary engineer Lenmorniiproekt.

Image: The Vostok oil scheme will require massive infrastructure work in Siberia (Dreamstime)

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