(St. Petersburg) Russia on Tuesday inaugurated a new nuclear-powered icebreaker that would ease its hydrocarbon exports to Asia via the Arctic, at a time when Moscow is reorienting its energy strategy due to Western sanctions against its offensive in Ukraine.
“The development of (the northern sea routes) will allow Russia to fully realize its export potential and create an efficient logistics route, including in Southeast Asia,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a speech broadcast via videoconference during the commissioning ceremony in St. Petersburg. .
Over 170 meters long, this new nuclear-powered vessel can break through ice up to three meters deep. It is the third edition in a series launched by the atomic energy giant Rosatom.
Baptized Urals Honoring Russia’s Ural region, it can carry up to 54 crew members, according to Rosatom.
Its deployment should make it possible to ensure Russian supremacy in the Arctic, a strategy posited by Vladimir Putin, while Moscow confronts the ambitions of other powers.
According to Putin, the Urals will operate “from December” in the Arctic, the region where Russia produces liquefied natural gas (LNG) initially intended for Europe.
But the country, the world’s largest gas exporter and number two oil exporter, now wants to redirect its hydrocarbon shipments to Asia, while the European Union has decided to put a gradual embargo on its Russian oil imports and significantly reduce those in gas to protest Russia’s offensive in Ukraine.
One route through the frigid waters of the Arctic, the “Northern Sea Route,” is now more navigable due to melting ice caused by climate change.
Moscow hopes to make it possible to increase the transportation of hydrocarbons to Southeast Asia by connecting the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic oceans.
Russia, the only company in the world that builds and operates nuclear icebreakers, has also launched a system Yakutiafrom the same series asUralsBut its actual entry into service is not scheduled until “the end of 2024,” according to Vladimir Putin.
A giant Russian nuclear-powered ship, over 200 meters long, is scheduled to see the light of day in 2027.
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