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The Assignment Of The North
Material posted: Medvedev DmitryPublication date: 11-04-2013

Russia is losing its positions in the Arctic against the background of the adoption of long-term strategies and increasing budget spending on Arctic programme. First person in the country with a straight face, promise that we here-here will start to produce oil and gas in the Barents sea.

However, ignored objective evidence that if that ever happens, then very soon. For a show around "the Arctic breakthrough" sacrifice the real interests of the inhabitants of the Russian North: the fishermen, geologists, builders, writes

God shelf marks

Around the riches of the Arctic is a sea of raised dust. Pro-government media trumpeted that this "Golden treasure planet" and the "new Persian Gulf". From one report to another figure walks beneath the Arctic ice hidden 90 billion barrels of oil. This is 13% of global reserves, and gas and do 30%. Three quarters of these resources are located in the Russian sector. The source of information and not immediately find it turns out to be assessment...

USGS 2009! A reasonable question arises: how do the Americans took their assessment? Not from the ceiling? Since 1920, the Arctic is a zone where no mining and prospecting is allowed only in a few areas in their territorial waters. Consequently, neither during the cold war, neither the Americans today had nothing to explore in the Kara sea. Today the U.S. has only three icebreakers, two of which because of their age are about to embark on scrap metal. In Russia, the oil exploration on the Arctic shelf was carried out in fragments and the wealth of the entire region does not allow to judge - maybe that's where two of the Persian Gulf, and maybe two buckets. - With the gas a little more clarity: there are richest deposits of: Shtokmanovskoye, Leningradskoye, Rusanovskoye, says economist Leonid Soldatkin. - The Shtokman reserves, for example, are estimated at 4 trillion cubic meters of gas. But to get them will not be easy: the Deposit is located 500 kilometers North of Murmansk, Barents sea depth here is about 320 meters. Year-round thick ice layer.

At present, there is a proven technology that allow economic benefits to produce gas under these conditions. But from each and every speaker we hear, like the Arctic ice that's melted, and to obtain resources will be much easier. Ice cap of the Arctic is very important for the planet because it reflects sunlight and gives the planet to overheat. We are constantly afraid of global warming. According to the canadian scientists, for 35 years, the volume of ice in parts of the Arctic archipelago decreased by 15%. According to the estimates of our meteorologist, in 2012, the area of ice cover amounted to an absolute minimum - 3346,2 thousand sq. km For the Laptev sea, East Siberian and Chukchi seas is only 65% of normal.

From this it is concluded that by 2070 the city of ice in the North of the planet may disappear completely. At the same time ignored the results of studies that contradict this version. For example, scientists of the Arctic and Antarctic research Institute (AARI) in St. Petersburg found that the change in the Earth's climate is affected by not only solar activity, but the rotation of other planets. There is also a cyclical change in temperature in the Arctic: for example, in the 1920-1940-ies there has been observed warming similar to today, which has led to a cooling in the 1960-ies. The AARI research we predicted a new ice age by the year 2025.

But AARI is not a cowboy firm in search of a cheap PR, but the country's main Institute in the North", known throughout the world. Deputy Director and head of the Antarctic expedition, Valery Lukin, the Russian Federation recognizes that the extent of snowmelt and exaggerating at the South pole. For example, in the West of Antarctica the temperature is rising in the East, on the contrary, decreases, but in General, abnormal changes of climate on the continent is not. However, many scholars notice only the West. According to the Director of AARI Ivan Frolov, in the fight against excessive warming too noticeable opportunistic interests. Petersburg Institute they are not so involved because 80% of their spending on science covers itself. The research is conducted in the interests of "Gazprom", "Rosneft", LUKOIL, the largest corporations are well aware that in the case of cooling in the Arctic the majority of their investments in the region will be covered with ice. However, in February 2013, President Putin approved the Strategy of development of the Arctic zone of the Russian Federation until 2020. In the document already 242 pages, but a script with a possible cold there is not described at all.


The fire-ship against the iceberg

Environmentalists from Greenpeace saying that neither Gazprom, nor the company "Shell", which is also planning to extract hydrocarbons in the Arctic, do not have effective and proven technologies of liquidation of emergency oil spills in such harsh conditions. For example, the Plan for oil spill response "Gazprom Neft shelf", it follows that for cleaning oil from the shore in the event of an accident on the platform "Prirazlomnaya" will be enough to 15 shovels, 15 buckets, three axes and sledge hammers.

"Prirazlomnaya" planned to start production in the Pechora sea near the Yamal Peninsula in 2011, but still can't do it - accidents, defective equipment and too high costs. According to experts of Greenpeace, in the ice conditions it is possible to collect only 10-15% of spilled oil. And even if the polar night that lasts several months? Then the probability of accidents increases significantly: storms with high waves, dense fog, heavy ice. Especially dangerous icebergs that can destroy the drilling platform. To combat them you plan to use... fire-ships - like those in the days of Ancient Rome rammed and torched the enemy's screening.


No fish, no oil

The two main interest in the Arctic is the development of hydrocarbon fields on the shelf and promotion of the Northern sea route. The route from Rotterdam to Shanghai along the Northern coast of Russia on 6 thousand km shorter than through the Indian ocean. Time-saving week, fuel - 500 thousand Euro per vessel. But, to clip coupons, you need to build new ports and icebreakers, to reconstruct the old moorings and start production at new deposits of raw materials. What expenses it will require, in Strategy not reported; but, if to unite the program, you get trillions of rubles! Is it even possible to recoup such investment?

The Strategy says that the reserves of discovered fields amount to over 570 million tonnes of oil and nearly 12 trillion cubic meters of gas. Moreover, the concentration of reserves in mega-fields "significantly reduces unit costs in their potential development". But while the opposite is true: costs are growing fabulously, and the results are deposited. 10 years ago to start developing the Shtokman field is planned in 2013. For the sake of "Gazprom" and "Rosneft" have created OOO Sevmorneftegaz (now Gazprom dobycha shelf"), held dozens of conferences, symposiums and round tables. But by 2007, it became clear that the development of the Shtokman field, no technology, no free 600 billion rubles. And then in the project has allowed foreigners - the French company "Total" and Norwegian "Statoil". On the Kola Peninsula village of Teriberka, where lives less than a thousand inhabitants. Some of them urgently have decided to relocate to their homes to build a Grand plant for the production of liquefied natural gas extracted at Shtokman. Like in the tundra there is a shortage of space! Residents fighting still has got the authority to move the building to a mile. But by 2012 it became clear that "Gazprom" has invested in the project tens of billions of rubles (or rather unknown) under guarantees of the government of the Russian Federation, and the Norwegians - not a penny. The result is as follows: in August, Gazprom announced the suspension of the project due to too high costs.

The explanation is simple - with the beginning of use in the US, cheap shale turned out to be that gas from Shtokman uneconomic. Russian rulers used to implement the mega projects - from the Foundation of St. Petersburg to the white sea canal, regardless of the cost and the victims, " says lawyer and human rights activist Boris Alexandrov. - But it is not clear why a country with the world's largest gas reserves, with a convenient and cost-effective deposits to spend $ 600 billion on the development of another - in the Arctic circle, five hundred miles from shore. Expense it as two Olympics in Sochi! Of course, the Shtokman field would be a great PR of our science. But it's smarter to quietly build up an effective production technology, not rushing into the breach without extreme need. And money to spend on a real modernization of factories, schools or hospitals. However, about schools and hospitals for the residents of the North in Strategy said almost nothing. But on a lot of pages lists resources that you can produce and sell here and now. Deposits of diamonds are concentrated in Yakutia and Arkhangelsk region. Reserves and production volumes of copper-Nickel ore on the Taimyr Peninsula, Russia takes the first places in the world. Processing of the Khibiny Apatite concentrate provides a deficient strontium and rare earth metals. On indigenous and placer gold prospective mineral resources in the Taimyr Peninsula, the Severnaya Zemlya archipelago, deposits, cucus" in polar Yakutia, with estimated resources of 130 tons of gold. Known large reserves of base metals and manganese in the New Earth. 57% of all Russian deposits of cinnabar are located in Chukotka. Another thing that the creators of the Strategy do not report anything new. Apatite in the Khibiny began to produce in the first five years. Newly-opened deposits allocated Fedorov Tundra, Kola Peninsula: 2.5 thousand tons of platinum, beryllium, palladium on 800 billion rubles. But strictly in accordance with the "interests" of our country 80% of future production transferred to the canadian Corporation "BarrickGold". Cod, haddock, saithe, redfish, catfish, Greenland halibut, which are found in the Northern seas, are described only as "bioresources". Not a word about what to get, they have almost no one.

Due to bureaucratic arbitrariness and draconian taxes the fishermen of Murmansk and Arkhangelsk, together with his quota of leave in neutral waters, and catch for rent in Norway - directly from ships. On the website of OJSC "Murmansk fish processing plant" says that the company buys its raw materials directly in the Norwegian auctions Norges Sildesalgslag and Norges Rafisklag. - Officials do not protect the interests of the Russian fisherman in disputed areas of the Barents sea, " says captain of the trawler from Murmansk Igor Vols. For example, the area around Svalbard has long been disputed between Russia and Norway. Accordingly, each country tries to support their fishermen, because they are the basis of economic presence. But in 2011, our country suddenly agreed that around Svalbard it is impossible to fish using trawls. It is beneficial to the Norwegians, they have the longline fleet, and we have - trawl 95%. We feel the betrayal on many different levels. For example, seven years ago, a trawler "Elektron" for three days walked away from the Norwegian coast guard, which illegally tried to detain him. The captain of "Electron" Valery Jarantseva proud of the entire North. How to react to his power? Put on trial, and the fish was fined 30 million rubles. Although he is barely breathing. Ruining a fishing industry, officials offered to the local population to earn a... cruise tourism! In a time when the number of ships on the Volga has decreased in 20 years in 20 times, the creators of the Strategy predict the rapid development of cruisers in the Arctic, where even in the season the North the icy wind almost pulls the teeth. But these oddities pale in comparison to the background suddenly changed vector of Russian geopolitics.



In February 2013, the Norwegian petroleum Department presented the results of exploration in the 175-kilometer zone in the Barents sea, which Russia ceded to Norway under the agreement Medvedev - Stoltenberg in 2010: here found oil and gas at 30 billion euros. For scientists, this was not the sensation: the region is fabulously rich, has been clear for a long time. In the 1970-ies international law allowed the Soviet Union to conduct geological surveys in the South-East of the Barents sea. Soviet Geophysics opened dome-shaped uplift of the Arch Fedynsky (the Norwegians call this place "the Backbone of Hjalmar Johansen"), which estimated the gas reserves are three times superior to the Shtokman field. Russian-Norwegian negotiations about the territory have stalled for 40 years - no one in their right mind would refuse such wealth. In 2010, the Gordian knot was cut by the President of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev, who at that time was looking for support in the West ahead of the presidential elections.

In the elections Medvedev did not go, and the Norwegians two years studied his gift. Gift pulled on 300 million cubic meters (in the future 565 million) of oil equivalent is almost 3.6 billion barrels, where gas 85% and oil 15%. Moreover, from the Arch Fedynsky to the Norwegian port of Kirkenes, only 100 km, and depth - like in the North sea, where Norway successfully produces hydrocarbons from 1960-ies. Then there is no need to invest 600 billion to pull the pipe for 500 miles through polar ice. Russian Pro-government experts in their own way justified the gift Medvedev: they say, losing the Arch Fedynsky, we have achieved (!) the output of the Norwegians from the agreement on the Shtokman field. Although more recently in the report of the Ministry of environment stated that the Norwegian development of the Shtokman field can take 185 years. - In territorial disputes with Russia no country in the world in no hurry to compromise, " says political analyst Anna Ruda. Because sooner or later in her position appears weakest link - and you can take all. More recently, in 1991, the Soviet foreign Minister, Eduard Shevardnadze gave the United States a 34 thousands of miles of oil and gas producing areas in the Chukchi and Bering seas.

But then and now from high tribunes say about the systematic strengthening of positions of Russia in the Arctic. Although it's more like the next budget cut, has little in common with the development of the region. Most of the universities of the Arkhangelsk region have joined in an educational monster Northern (Arctic) University, with an enrollment of 10 thousand students, supposedly future explorers of the Arctic. Formed Arctic troops - two brigades with subordinate to FSB. On the New Earth is planned to place supersonic interceptor MiG-31. Solid addition and is waiting for icebreaker fleet, already the largest in the world. Although plans for a global shipping and resource extraction could put a simple lowering of the temperature, already predicted by the best scientists of the country. - What we sense from the Northern fleet with its nuclear-powered submarines and warheads, - the Deputy of the Murmansk regional Duma, a marine biologist, a fishery Manager Gennady Stepahno. - They did not interfere to drive our fishermen to Norwegians, who sometimes behave like Somali pirates. In the sixties Kosygin gave away six tons of gold, below we've built fishing fleet in the Netherlands, Poland, GDR, Finland. And now Putin offers to build in our shipyards. In which the shipyards? The money go to the Federal United shipbuilding Corporation, which just shakes her interest. And we get poorer. No wonder the information about Medvedev's visit to Murmansk was kept secret: he feared that people might take to the streets. From the same development Strategy of the Arctic zone until 2020, this suggests that local residents are interested in power much less resources. Even according to the optimistic plans of the authors, the population of the Arkhangelsk region after 7 years will be reduced by 110 thousand people - up to 1.12 million people. 11% of them will remain below the poverty line, and the introduction of new housing will reach 30 sq. cm (!) per person per year.


The battle for the Arctic

The main players in the struggle for resources of the North is "Arctic five": Russia, Canada, Norway, Denmark (which owns Greenland) and the United States.Adopted in 2008 Ilulissat Declaration signaled a willingness of the five to co-operate among themselves, but to prevent the emergence of rules of international law which would have opened access to the Arctic non-Arctic countries. As a result, there is heated passions around the breakthroughs of third countries to the North. For example, China has implemented five Arctic expeditions on the diesel icebreaker "Xue long", which was purchased from Ukraine in 1993, has put a research station on Spitsbergen and is seeking observer status in the Arctic Council. It served as a "Chinese expansion".

A few declarative statements about the interest in the Arctic has made the government of India. While it is clear that the country has to March to the North neither the means nor the experience nor the opportunity to get "expansion" at least some benefit. Japan, Singapore, Thailand - these countries are applying the maximum complicity in specific Arctic programs, but for media of the "five" they - lurking snakes. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said that his country is ready to defend its sovereignty over the Islands, waterways and resources in the Arctic" with the help of military aviation and Navy. Part of the fifth generation fighter F-35 Lightning II will patrol the Arctic. Norway in 2010, moved the headquarters of the operational command of the armed forces to the Arctic circle and has purchased five new frigates that have been adapted for the North. And Denmark formed the joint Arctic command. Russia is not far behind. Our strategic aviation has resumed patrolling the Arctic region. In the defense Ministry say that they are going to rebuild a naval base along the Northern sea route. There is a new ice-class patrol boat "Ocean" to the border troops of the FSB, several patrol vessels "Blizzard" and military support vessel "Academician Alexandrov". Although it's more like a muscle-flexing than preparations for war. According to the us naval expert James Holmes, the fighting surface vessels in the Arctic is complicated or impossible.


Tags: assessment , Arctic

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