Based on quotes from Aleksandr Mandel, head of subsidiary company Gazprom Dobycha Shelf, the BarentsObserver story argued that Russian energy companies depend on technology and equipment from foreign companies when developing offshore Arctic projects.
Speaking at a conference in Murmansk in mid-November, Mandel reportedly indicated that Russian industry remains insufficiently sophisticated with regard to offshore technology.
“Everyone seems to think that shelf projects can be developed quickly […] However, our industry is today practically not ready to take on the job”, BarentsObserver quoted Mandel as saying.
BarentsObserver was itself not present at the conference, but based its story on information from other news reports.
In a response to the story, Gazprom admits that there have been cases with delivery of low-quality parts to the “Prirazlomnaya” platform, the installation currently based in the Pechora Sea. However, these parts were quickly repared or replaced, Gazprom underlines.
The gas company stresses that Aleksandr Mandel in his conference speech did underline the need for cooperation between Russian and foreign companies within innovative technology not yet available in Russia. Domestic industry is especially not ready to produce equipment for underwater development of oil and gas fields, the company informs.
However, there should be no doubt that domestic industry must be ready for large-scale projects on the Arctic shelf, Gazprom says. In this phase, local businesses will cooperate with leading Russian and foreign companies and develop production capacities for hi-tech offshore equipment, the company informs.
The Prirazlomaya platform, Russia’s first offshore Arctic production installation, is about 80 percent based on Russian-produced parts. As previously reported, the platform has been lying idle in the Pechora Sea for more than a year. Production is expected to start only in fall 2013.
The company is closing down its biggest mine in the Kola Peninsula following plummeting raw material prices. Consequences will be dramatic for Zapolyarny, the industrial town located along the border to Norway.
August 9th, the Barents Region celebrated the UN International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. The day was commemorated in several parts of the region, including Karasjok in Northern Norway and Teriberka in Northwestern Russia.
“This sends a clear message to Russia that things aren’t so good when it comes to basic journalistic values in Norway either” The firing of BarentsObserver’s Editor Thomas Nilsen has led to massive reactions from journalists and other protectors of press freedom.