Finland Pushes Murmansk Development

February 6, 2003
Story provided by Hong Kong Shipping News International


SPEAKING at the same time as his country was expressing concern at the navigation of the iced areas of the Baltic by tankers trading to Russian ports, Finland's foreign trade minister, Jari VilÚn, has expressed strong support for Russia's development of Murmansk port for oil exports.

At a presentation last week on the Arctic Operational Platform Project (Arcop) which was launched jointly, late last year, by the EU and Russia to develop the oil and gas transport of the arctic regions in Russia. Arcop is planned to take three years and is being led by Kvaerner Masa-Yards. The development of a Northern Sea Route, which would require the use of Murmansk, is a cntral Arcop objective. The project is intended to safeguard the interests of both the EU and Finland, with an emphasis on environmental protection using Finnish Arctic know-how.

Mr VilÚn, stressed that, "In the light of the recent incidents" special attention must be paid to environmental safety. He argued that the safety, and economy, of oil shipping can be enhanced by right technology and route choices. The alternative routes from Russia are pipelines from the production fields to Europe, shipping across the Baltic Sea and direct shipments by sea along the Western part of the North-East Passage. In addition, a new export and loading port for crude oil has been planned for the Murmansk region. " The Murmansk port project in particular should be advanced, because the sea off the port remains open all year round and is therefore safe," said Mr VilÚn.

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