Not long after Vladimir Potanin asked for budget assistance to help fund Nornickel’s ecological projects, another Russian billionaire has approached Russian President Vladimir Putin to solicit a government bailout, finanz.ru reports.
Leonid Mikhelson, co-owner of Novatek and the third richest person in Russia with an estimated $18 billion according to Forbes, claims to be in need of 900 million rubles to speed up the construction and activation of the liquefied natural gas (LNG) transshipment terminal in Murmansk.
Russian LNG from the plant in Yamal is currently transshipped in Norway, which has resulted in pressure on Russia from the West, Mikhelson said at a session of the State Commission for Arctic Development in Sabetta.
Furthermore, investments need to be ensured for the expansion of the approach channel in the Gulf of Ob, by 2022 and not by 2023, he emphasized: according to the Ministry of Transport, this will require another 8 billion rubles.
Finally, Mikhelson continued, there is a critical need for budget funds to be allocated to the construction of nuclear icebreakers, which are needed for taking cargo along the North Sea Route.
According to Mikhelson, the program to launch the five icebreakers has been effectively derailed, since the construction of the first has been delayed by more than two years.
At the end of November, Yamal LNG began testing and commissioning LNG production on the third technological line. With the launch of the third line (a year ahead of schedule) the plant’s total capacity has reached 16.5 million tons per year. Due to the early activation of the line, the plant has been hiring additional ships on the market and organizing cargo transshipment in Norway. Without the extra ships, Novatek would be unable to export all the LNG from the condensate.