Nenets swims in cash

People in Naryan-Mar can smile all the way to the bank. Photo: Thomas Nilsen

Regional budget with a surplus of one billion rubles so far this year makes the tiny populated northeastern corner of the Barents Region one of the wealthiest in entire Russia.


Nenets Autonomous Okrug has posted impressive economic statistics for years. Already five years ago, BarentsObserver could tell that officials in the region were ranked as the ones with highest salaries among all officials in Russia.

Today, the same officials in the local administration can smile all the way to the bank. The regional balance account for the first nine months 2012 shows a surplus of a billion rubles (€24,5 million), the regional administration announced this week.

If divided on the tiny population of 42,000 people in the Okrug, each can cash in nearly 24,000 rubles (€600) – nearly the average salary for an employee in the state administration in Murmansk region. 

Andrey Vokuev is heading the Norwegian Barents Secretariat’s office in Naryan-Mar. He has followed the economic boom in the region for years.

“Average monthly salary in Nenets is now 55,771 rubles (€1,369). That is up 16 percent from the same period last year. Highest salaries are in the oil and gas sector as well as in finance and public administration,” says Andrey Vokuev to Barents Observer

The economy in Nenets is fueled by oil. Big oil. Total revenues for Nenets in the period were 8,7 billion rubles, while the regions’ expenses were 7,7 billion. Revenues come from property tax and the regions production sharing agreement (PSA) for the Kharyaga oil field on the tundra, reports Arctic-info.

The Kharyaga PSA counted for 4,1 billion ruble while property tax counted for 3,4 billion. Property tax from Russia’s first offshore platform in the European part of the Arctic, the Prirazlomnoye, will be transferred to the budget of Nenets Autonomous Okrug. The platform was in April this year registrated in the ship register in the port of Naryan-Mar.

Gazprom, the operator of Prirazlomnoye, are currently lobbying to get lower tax rates for the platform’s operation.