Sergey Kondratiev, Deputy Head of the Economic Department of the Institute for Energy and Finance, commented to the electronic publication Vzglyad on the supply of Russian oil to China.
“The infrastructure of the Northern Sea Route itself is ready, it is maintained by Rosatom in good condition, and it does not require investments and time,” Sergey Kondratyev says. Finally, this route is protected from a sanctions strike.
Another complication is that due to the ongoing coronavirus lockdowns, oil consumption in China has fallen to the lowest levels in the last five years, so it may be difficult to increase the supply of crude oil beyond the already high volumes, Kondratiev believes. Now China receives Russian oil through the ESPO pipeline and through the port of Kozmino already to the maximum.
“We have practically no arc5 and arc7 class tankers that allow winter navigation. Not only do we have few such tankers, there are few of them all over the world, because there are no large cargo flows in such harsh conditions. In order for oil transportation along the Northern Sea Route to be not one-time, but regular and significant, we need to create a large fleet, which is not currently available in the whole world. It will take a lot of time. These vessels do not have to be built here, the same Zvezda is already loaded with other orders, in particular, for the construction of gas carriers. The main thing is that an order for the construction of such vessels should be placed now,” Sergei Kondratyev notes.
Another difficulty is legal.
“We still have a restriction for the transportation of goods along the Northern Sea Route by ships under foreign flags. A special permit is required for their passage. Only vessels flying the Russian flag can sail along the NSR. Probably, it is necessary to change the legislation,” Kondratiev says.
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