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Challenges in Arctic Port Development

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Author(s): Daria Gritsenko, Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Helsinki

Sabetta is of one of the most ambitious contemporary Arctic seaport projects ever developed. The port is constructed on the western shore of the Ob estuary in the Yamal peninsula and is a key component of Yamal LNG project which includes a large liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant capable of producing 16.5 million tons of LNG per year (compare: the Snøhvit LNG in the Barent Sea has production capacity of 4,3 million mt per year), an international airport and a settlement. Sabetta port is a joint venture between Novatek – a large producer of natural gas – and the Russian government.

Sabetta can be considered a ‘critical case’ in the ongoing industrialisation of the Arctic. The absence of adequate onshore infrastructure, primarily ports and terminals, is an obstacle to furthering prospects of the Arctic energy development. Many energy analysts suggest that LNG will be a part of the energy mix for years to come and that there is place for Arctic LNG on the market.

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