During the Eastern Economic Forum, ROSATOM, Norilsk Nickel PJSC (Nornickel) and the Far Eastern Shipbuilding and Ship Repair Center JSC (FESRC, part of Rosneft Oil Company) entered into a cooperation agreement on designing and constructing a dual-fuel LNG-powered icebreaker to escort ships carrying Nornickel’s cargo along the Northern Sea Route, a strategic transport artery of the global logistics system. Nornickel is the largest industrial company in the Russian Arctic and has unique expertise in operating this route.
The parties have agreed to form a working group. Nornickel will provide information on the prospective cargo traffic, the vessel types and the number of voyages to/from the port of Dudinka. This information will be used to develop a specification for designing and building the icebreaker, which will determine the key parameters of the project: the width, deadweight tonnage and capacity of the vessel, taking into account the future need to pilot ships of various sizes.
Furthermore, Nornickel and ROSATOM intend to address the issue of raising funds for designing and building the LNG icebreaker, including the possibility of receiving state subsidies for the provision of services. As a result, an updated schedule for the design, construction and commissioning of the new vessel will be formed in order to ensure the scheduled replacement of the Taymyr nuclear icebreaker can take place within the framework of Nornickel’s projects.
FESRC will provide Nornickel and ROSATOM with information about the potential designer and shipbuilder. Iceberg Central Design Bureau JSC and Zvezda Shipbuilding Complex LLC are candidates for supplying these services, providing that they are able to comply with the procurement procedures of Nornickel and ROSATOM, as well as relevant legislation.
“The icebreaker fleet is the cornerstone of the large-scale programme to modernise the transport infrastructure of the Norilsk industrial region. Nornickel is scaling up shipping volumes to enable strategic investment projects in the region to be delivered on schedule. The new icebreaker will help us achieve our ambitious goals, and the agreement will be an important step in cementing the partnership between leading Russian companies in the development of the Arctic,” said Vladimir Potanin, President of Nornickel.
Kirill Komarov, First Deputy Director General for Development and International Business at ROSATOM, added: “Building LNG icebreakers is a new stage in the development of the Northern Sea Route. They will allow us to satisfy the requirements of investors in the western sector by replacing ageing decommissioned nuclear icebreakers, as well as to free up more powerful vessels for operation in the East.”
The parties plan to sign the contract for designing and building the LNG-powered icebreaker in 2022, and intend to cooperate in providing uninterrupted and environmentally safe icebreaker support for vessels navigating the Northern Sea Route.