Putin Asks FSB for Help to Avoid Western Sanctions as Rosneft Begins Construction on Vostok Oil Pier

Vostok Dock construction

Photo showing cranes and pilings being unloaded at Sever Bay. (Source: RN-Vankor, a subsidiary of Rosneft)

Rosneft has begun construction on the dock for the Vostok Oil terminal at Sever Bay. Meanwhile President Putin has called on the security service FSB to assist Russian companies in avoiding sanctions.

Two days after securing a 5th term in office, President Putin has asked Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) to aid companies in circumventing sanctions and in securing new international markets.

Putin acknowledged that Western sanctions have delayed certain large projects but vowed that they would be implemented as planned. 

“Yes, they create temporary problems for us. Just this morning I spoke with members of the government about certain large projects that we are implementing, about introducing additional sanctions, this requires additional efforts and funds from us, new logistics routes. Yes, this pushes a little [...] the implementation of these projects. But everything will certainly be done anyway,” Putin stated according to a transcript posted by the Kremlin. 

Russian companies have relied on new business partnerships e.g. in the United Arab Emirates to circumvent blocking measures and secure sanctioned technology. 

Current Western sanctions, especially those by the U.S., have delayed Novatek’s large-scale Arctic LNG 2 project. They have also hampered Russia’s ability to acquire ice-capable gas carriers to begin exporting LNG from the facility. U.S. officials have indicated that future sanctions will continue to target Russia’s gas and oil sectors

Port construction begins

Putin’s comments come the same week as Russian oil company Rosneft announced it has begun construction on a dock for the Vostok oil terminal at Sever Bay. 

The work includes dredging along 335 meters of coastline to establish one of two berths of the project’s oil tankers. For 2024 Rosneft plans to remove 2.7 million cubic meters of subsea soil. 

The dock will be constructed through the use of 400 large-size pilings each 2.5 meters across. A total of 16 heavy lift cranes were delivered to the construction site via the Northern Sea Route this winter to aid in the unloading of the pilings.

Vostok Dock construction

Photo showing the first pilings being driven into the ground. (Source: RN-Vankor, a subsidiary of Rosneft)

In total the Sever Bay terminal includes 1.3 kilometers of port facilities able to accommodate two oil tankers, two cargo ships, and port service vessels.

Russian officials maintain that total export volumes will reach 30 million tonnes in 2024, increasing gradually to 100 million tonnes by 2023. However, port facilities and associated infrastructure remain under construction.

Initial shipments of crude oil from the Vostok project are unlikely to start before the later months of 2024, at the earliest. In addition, Rosneft has yet to take delivery of any ice-capable Arc6 tankers built for the project.

It may be able to use existing lower ice-class vessels during months when ice conditions are moderate. Russian shipping company Sovcomflot operates a number of Arc4 oil tankers.

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