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Round Table Around the Arctic

By [email protected] - 1st October 2007 - 12:16

On September 21, the âGudokâ publishing office had a round table, dedicated to ensuring presence of Russia in the Arctic region. âGudokâ publishers and Euro-Asian Transportation Union were the organizers of this event. Below is an excerpt of the round table agenda, published in âGudokâ newspaper.
Transportation DifficultiesTopicality of the Arctic region prospecting is in large volumes of natural resources, including hydrocarbons. Russiaâs strive to consolidate its influence in the Arctic has already been strongly opposed by a number of countries, having their own vision of the perspectives of this region.Deputy Head of the Federal Service for Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring of the Russian Federation (RosHydroMet) Alexander Frolov said that based on the forecasts of the Arctic region for the nearest 10-15 years the ice cover reduction is a stable trend.Deputy Head of the Navigation Department of the Federal Agency for Marine and River Transport Evgeny Kormyshev agreed with the opinion that the activities of Russia have dramatically increased in the Arctic region. According to the current plans of the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade, around 5 billion tons of fuel equivalent will be produced in the Barents and Pechora Seas, however currently there are no transportation means to ship such volumes.Evgeny Kormyshev highlighted that there no unequivocal answer to the question of which transportation scheme on the shelf is more preferable â based on private capital or on government investments. Private businesses will not be able to resolve the problem of ice breakers support, whereas the government will not manage shelf development and building of new ships. âThis is the very example when a public private partnership stands more chances. Evgeny Kormyshev added that Northern Sea Route may be promoted as a new thruway due to shelf prospecting in the first place, as it is impossible to accurately schedule shipping operations along this route unlike southern seas.Chief Executive Officer of the non-profit partnership on the coordination of the Northern Seas Route navigation Vladimir Michailichenko noted that âclaims of our rights on the shelf, which development will define the future of the Northern Sea Route, should be backed up by actual steps of the state on investments into the projects, ice breakers manufacturing and expedited geological survey of the shelf areas. Public private partnership - is the only option to pursue such avenueâ.Arctic Region Monitoring System Alexander Frolov noted that the Arctic Region Monitoring System should be comprehensive and include ground, over-water, aerial, subsea and satellite-based means with the latter component as the most important one. Currently, there is no Russian satellite hydrometeorological and environmental monitoring system whatsoever.This year a polar-orbital satellite was supposed to be launched, however the launch was scrubbed till mid next year. This is an idea to create a high elliptical orbit satellite fleet. This project has been technically worked out and designed, and RosHydroMet partnered with Federal Space Agency have already come up with a proposal to launch two-three satellites that can reach high altitudes over the North Pole thus enabling to replace geostationary satellites.âFor now we depend on the data delivered from the foreign satellites. There are plans to develop information systems using public private partnership, once the state creates several major data receiving centers in the Arctic region to distribute the information further on.â Private businesses may be involved here as the equipment suppliers, partners in R&D activities or in resolution of special tasks that private companies may carry out better than the stateâ - added RosHydroMet Deputy Head.Olga Gershenzon, ScanEx R&D Center Vice-President, noted that the lack of domestic satellite group, monitoring the Arctic region, may bring to the fact that Russia will never fit in the global information system. For example, nowadays Russia can not get âfirst-handâ radar data for the Baltic territory from the European satellite even for money. ESA refuses to sign direct contracts on operational radar data supply as there is a queue for such data for the Baltic region and they have no resources to serve all the requests.Therefore, we might find ourselves in the situation when we will be able to get only repeatedly processed data at high prices at best. At worst, we will not have it at all. Besides, if the authorities are not âon the same pageâ on the issues of the data volume and type, this problem will never be resolved. A good example is the Emercom that has recently purchased a considerable resource of radar data reception. However, the full-scale governmental decision is required to resolve this problem. Without this we miss the opportunity to get the information support. And it is not only the question of ships ice-breakers convoys, but the oil spills pollution monitoring, ships coordinates verification and illegal fishing control as well.Te round table participants came to the conclusion that a special governmental strategy is required for the Arctic region development. Alexander Frolov believes that presence of Russia in the Arctic region is rather a geo-strategic task, than a new economic project. And the future of the country depends on the resolution of this task directly. âThe Russian Arctic has the future only provided we have long-term government programs, implying solid investment and cooperation with private businesses. We count a lot on the extensive development of the Northern Sea Route infrastructure in the nearest future under the âArctic Developmentâ subprogram of the Russiaâs âWorld Oceanâ federal target programâ â said RosHydroMet Deputy Head.According to the round table participants, priority over the Arctic region will be acquired by those who will manage to create a sound infrastructure in the region. The Northern Sea Route is of strategic importance to consolidate position of our country in this region.Images: Source ESA -

Author: ScanEx Research and Development Centre

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