30 september 2009

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin met with Vladimir Dmitriyev, Chairman of Vnesheconombank (Bank for Development and Foreign Economic Affairs)

The two men discussed progress on the Ust-Luga projects and plans for a new project for the Far Eastern Shipbuilding Centre.

Transcript of the opening of the meeting:

Vladimir Putin: Mr Dmitriyev, how is the work going on the main projects?

Vladimir Dmitriyev: The work is proceeding in compliance with the decisions of the supervisory board. Accordingly, I would like to report on the progress in carrying out the project that was approved by the supervisory board at its latest meeting on the Ust-Luga terminal.

Vladimir Putin: Tell me everything about the port, please.

Vladimir Dmitriyev: The board decided to increase the funding to $550 million. I visited Ust-Luga last week, and inspected the entire area from the air. I saw that the project is almost completed, including the piers, the reservoirs and the loading docks. One loading dock is ready, and the construction of another two, one for handling petroleum products and one for port infrastructure, has started. Administrative and customs offices will soon be ready.

We have every reason to expect a port for transhipping 12 million tonnes to be ready next spring.

Vladimir Putin: Are there any problems with the infrastructure, highways, access ways and canals?

Vladimir Dmitriyev: As for the construction of infrastructure, the Russian Railways Company is moving ahead quite successfully. Judging by its progress, this problem will cease to be a problem soon.

There are real problems with laying the high voltage transmission line, because the previous geological prospecting data is somewhat different from the actual situation. And so the appropriate decisions have been made and technological solutions have been found, and so the matter will be settled before next spring.

Vladimir Putin: What about the deep canal?

Vladimir Dmitriyev: It is under construction, and the dikes are being built simultaneously. In fact, the construction of pier dikes is freeing up space for the canal.

Vladimir Putin: Mr Dmitriyev, I know that this is not your area of authority, but still you should see to it that the entire project is put into operation in time and reach its full capacity, if we want Vnesheconombank investments to be fully effective and pay back in due time. The job demands a comprehensive approach, so you should be in close contact with the Transport Ministry and settle any emerging problems once and for all.

Vladimir Dmitriyev: We are working in close contact with the Transport Ministry, project initiators and investors-all the more so because the government bank and private investors almost equally invested in the project. Major investments have been made, and more are coming.

Vladimir Putin: From all participants?

Vladimir Dmitriyev: Yes.

Vladimir Putin: The money should work to the greatest possible effect.

Vladimir Dmitriyev: We'll try and do our best. I would like to touch on another issue in this connection. It is a new civilian shipbuilding project connected with the Ust-Luga one. We are making comprehensive preparations for a new project based in the Russian Far East, in addition to the projects already financed by VEB, or which it will start financing quite soon, in line with the decisions of the supervisory board. I mean the Far Eastern Shipbuilding Centre based on the Zvezda Plant.

The project envisages a dry dock and a wharf to build tankers, liquefied gas vessels and rigs. We expect to use up to 35 billion roubles from next year's allocations. We expect construction to start in the second quarter 2010, and to launch the first vessel in 2011.

It is an essential project for the Russian Far East from an economic perspective and, what matters even more, from a social perspective, because it promises new jobs and therefore tax revenues. It will also promote related high-tech industries.

Amurmetal Plant, for one, will receive reliable clients for its produce.

Vladimir Putin: Contract amounts will grow, won't they?

Vladimir Dmitriyev: Yes.

Vladimir Putin: How much will VEB invest?

Vladimir Dmitriyev: This project will be based on project financing, because it was launched by the United Shipbuilding Corporation. That is to say, the bulk of funding will come from VEB. But then again, the project promises contracts with Gazprom, Rosneft, Sovcomflot and other companies. Preliminary discussion are underway now. So we hope for the project to pay for itself within 10-15 years. Its overall cost is estimated at 35 billion roubles.

Vladimir Putin: Good.