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Friday, December 2, 2016

Gazprom bypasses sanctions with the help of a price at $ 1 billion


Gazprom has acquired the pipelay vessel, which will allow him to build offshore pipelines without regard to the Western sanctions. Still, Russia was hired for such work by foreign contractors. Like new vessel “Akademik Chersky” will help to circumvent sanctions in the sea of Okhotsk and whether it can be used in the project “Northern stream – 2?

Gazprom confirmed available on the market the rumor about the acquisition of the lay vessel Jascon 18 (new name “academic plan”). This ship will allow Gazprom to build offshore pipelines without regard to international sanctions.

“Gazprom has built the ship for doing pipe-laying work offshore. There is now the opportunity Gazprom”

“Gazprom has built the ship for doing pipe-laying work offshore. There is now the opportunity from Gazprom”, – said the Deputy Chairman of the Board of Gazprom Vitaly Markelov. “We plan to use it on the South-Kirinsky block in the sea of Okhotsk near future. It can be used not only as a laying vessel, but also as a crane for the installation of heavy structures”, – he added, reports “Interfax”.

The construction of a 150-meter vessel Jascon 18 ordered in 2011, the company Sea Trucks Group Limited (STG) as a subsidiary of multi-purpose building. In may 2015, STG has sold one of its newbuildings to an undisclosed buyer. The deal was shrouded in mystery, which Gazprom finally opened, confirming the purchase of Jascon 18 with the purpose of modernization under the pipe-laying vessel.

It was sold to Russian Mezhregiontruboprovodstroy. MRTS is the only Russian company with expertise in offshore pipeline construction. This company is not a “daughter” of Gazprom, however, their longstanding and close business relationships. Moreover, Gazprom made in April last year by the guarantor to Gazprombank for MRTS under the credit facility to $ 1 billion. That is the money most likely went into the purchase of the vessel. This is a serious deal, considering, for example, that the construction of two strings of Nord stream – 2 is estimated at 10 billion euros. From an economic point of view such a purchase are not favorable. However, in order to remove the political risk involved in executing pipeline projects, the deal is more than justified.

Offshore project

Gazprom itself says that the vessel will be used at the Yuzhno-Kirinskoye block of the Okhotsk sea. The South Kirinskoye field in the sea of Okhotsk (developed in the framework of the project “Sakhalin-3″) private list came under US sanctions. This is not surprising, because the Kirinskoye gas condensate field should be a resource base for the construction of Power of Siberia – 3”. And this is the third far-Eastern route of gas supplies to China, which is now being discussed on a par with the East (the Power of Siberia – 1″) and Western (the”Power of Siberia – 2″, or former pipeline “Altai”).

All these pipelines to help Russia to diversify supply and reduce dependence on the need to sell gas only to Europe. If Russia will get an alternative to the European gas market, in Chinese, to ease her through the expulsion from Europe has not come out.

The importance of the far Eastern route to China that he is shorter, and this reduces the cost of gas. The decision is pending. However, this project is economically more reasonable than the supply of fuel through the so-called Western route. The Western route has a huge resource base of 180 billion cubic meters of gas – this is its main advantage. But the Chinese questioned the profitability of this project. The construction of the pipeline too expensive, higher than the average rates for such projects at $ 1.5 million per kilometer. China to buy more expensive gas is not ready.

In June Vladimir Putin will visit China, it is expected that with the aim of signing the agreement on fuel supply for the second route. But it is not excluded that in the end will choose China instead of the Western route more attractive far East (that is, instead of the second “Power of Siberia” – third). In this regard, the purchase of own vessel-pipelayer for the development of the field from which you will be able to gas China, is more than justified.

This vessel, along with two of its own rigs will allow Gazprom to develop the Yuzhno-Kirinskoye Deposit without regard to penalties.

“Program development fleet for the development of offshore reserves has been under way for a long time. Several years ago Gazprom ordered and financed the construction of two platforms “Polyarnaya Zvezda” and “Severnoe Siyanie”, which greatly facilitated his work in the sea of Okhotsk and fulfill orders on the same shelf of Vietnam. It turned out that it was a good investment, especially considering the introduced sanctions,” – says the newspaper VIEW Deputy Director of the national energy security Fund Alexei Grivach.

“Polyarnaya Zvezda” and “Severnoe Siyanie” is a semi-submersible floating drilling rigs 6th generation, capable of drilling wells up to 7500 meters at sea depth from 70 to 500 m and the outdoor temperature to minus 30 degrees. Last week Gazprom said that both installations are on the roads in the Tatar Strait, where we examine the readiness for the upcoming drilling season.

This year’s “polar star” and “Northern lights” will continue the construction of wells on the Kirinskoye gas condensate field. Crews fully staffed with Russian personnel. So now Gazprom can own not only boring, but also to carry out pipe-laying works on the continental shelf.

Nord stream 2″

Gazprom says about the use of “Academician” Chersky (Jascon 18) for laying of pipes in the construction of the Nord stream – 2″. However, to exclude such possibility it is impossible.

“Potentially, this ship can be used in the process of building Nord stream – 2”

Used for the construction of offshore pipelines Russia had to hire exclusively to foreign contractors. For example, “Nord stream” in due time were laid out across the Baltic sea to the Italian Saipem (a subsidiary of the Italian ENI of Neftegarant) and Swiss-based Allseas, “the Blue stream” to Turkey – Saipem and the pipeline Dzhubga – Lazarevskoye – Sochi – Romanian Grup Servicii Petroliere. The offshore part of “South” and then “Turkish stream” were also build by the Italians with the Swiss. But after freezing of Saipem projects has started to sue Gazprom, holding a claim on 760 million euros in connection with Russia’s refusal from South stream.

Unofficially it was reported that Gazprom wants to offer the Italian a new contract Truboprokatny to settle these claims. It was about the construction of the offshore section of the Nord stream – 2″. Gazprom just announced a major international tender to determine contractors is laying pipes for the Nord stream – 2″. Enrollment will be completed in June and results will be announced in the course of this year.

If used as a contractor logical looked Italian subsidiary of ENI, Saipem is now no longer seems to be a clear winner. After securing the pipe-laying vessel, Gazprom may now himself take up the work. This allows not to depend on foreign contractors, which can push US. In addition, the Italian Saipem is now busy with another project – the construction of the TRANS Adriatic pipeline (TAP), which Washington supports all hands. This pipe has received a full range of preferences, which at the time refused the “South stream”.

As for the Nord stream – 2″, despite the performances of the EC followed by the United States against the draft, but words, apparently, they have no objective opportunities to ban the project. Unlike the “South stream and Nord stream – 2” is not on the European territory and, therefore, the energy of the EU regulations do not apply to him. And EK is very difficult to find a loophole to ban the pipe, while not substituting itself and the entire European legal system. Because then you have to admit that they made a construction similar to the “Nord stream – 1” violations, it will have to close, and this, among other things, creates enormous risks for Europe’s energy security.

The lack of legal grounds to stop the Nord stream – 2″ heightens the risk that the US will put pressure on foreign partners of Gazprom on the project, including through the European pipelayers.

“Potentially, this ship can be used in the process of building Nord stream – 2″. But the integrated pipeline is not only the availability of it competence, people and technology, licenses, supplementary equipment. Gazprom itself speaks only of offshore use. Therefore, when laying pipes across the Baltic sea to some extent, but will have to attract foreigners”, – said the newspaper LOOK President of the National Association of oil and gas services Victor Haiku.

“The bidding process for most of the route of the “Nord stream – 2 – in addition to riparian zones, but riparian zones can be performed by its own forces. Here is important characteristics of the pipe of what diameter it can put” – says Grivach.

At least “academic plan” may become a safety net for the project. Importantly, this deal shows that every action of the West is a reaction.

The purchase of the vessel to minimize the sanctions and political risks – is the right strategy. Because at any moment the sanctions can extend. “For example, now at the sanctions we are talking about the prohibition of work on the deep sea deposits to a depth of over 150 meters, and you have, say, depth of 140 meters. To buy equipment, you will have to prove this fact to prove that the equipment will not be used to sanction facilities. All this greatly complicates the whole process of trade,” – says Alexei Grivach.

“In addition, today you ordered the equipment (not subject to the sanctions), and tomorrow they have taken and the depth was reduced to 100 meters. And even if the equipment to have to service it provider. Replace the equipment is already very expensive, and to find a similar supplier, ready to serve, tricky because everything is protected by patents, licenses, etc. It’s a threat to reliable operation,” adds Grivach.

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