MOSCOW, February 8 (RIA Novosti) – Russian authorities greenlighted plans by oil giant Rosneft to begin production of Arctic seagoing vessels at two separate facilities, a senior official said Saturday.
The state-run company will build a new shipyard complex in the village of Roslyakovo in the northern Murmansk Region, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said.
The complex will comprise military and civilian shipbuilding facilities, said Rogozin, who oversees defense and space industries in the government.
Rosneft will also create a consortium that would produce LNG carriers and Arctic drilling platforms, Rogozin said on his Facebook.
Production will take place at the Zvezda shipyard in the far eastern Primorye Region starting 2015, said the former envoy to NATO, once known for firebrand nationalism.
State companies Gazprom and Rosneft have extensive Arctic exploration plans together with Shell and ExxonMobil, respectively, which are to make up for Russian companies’ inexperience in offshore drilling above the polar circle.
Rosneft currently has no offshore drilling platform in the Arctic. Gazprom operates the Prirazlomnaya oil rig, made at Sevmash shipyard in Arkhangelsk Region and utilizing the top half of a scrapped Norwegian platform.
Arctic exploration plans are met with vehement resistance from environmentalists, who claim drilling for oil in the Arctic is dangerous and unprofitable.
Greenpeace picketed Prirazlomnaya last fall, which landed 30 activists in Russian custody for two months. The protesters avoided trial on criminal charges only due to an amnesty, while Prirazlomnaya began pumping oil in December.