8 Dec 2017 18:34

Putin promises to develop Yamal LNG project with Russian technologies

SABETTA. Dec 8 (Interfax) - Russian President Vladimir Putin has called the Yamal LNG plant a "fantastic sight" and promised to continue its development.

"A fantastic sight," Putin said at a meeting with personnel, when asked whether he liked the airfield in the Yamalo-Nenets village of Sabetta where the plant is based. "All in all, a fantastic sight," he said.

Yamal LNG (liquefied natural gas) has no analogues in Russia, he said, noting that initially there were attempts to dissuade him from the project.

The president also promised to continue developing the enterprise. "We will definitely develop [it]. You have a fourth line in plans, which will operate fully on Russian technologies, and as your colleague already said it is 30% cheaper," Putin said.

He also noted the importance of developing the Russian Arctic region further, calling Yamal LNG a major step in this direction.

"The step that you made matters a great deal for our country as a whole, not just for the energy industry, LNG projects, but as a whole," Putin said.

One employee asked the president whether he had seen the northern lights during this trip.

"No, I haven't. I only saw the lights of your plant. The new, truly high-tech northern lights," Putin said.

At some point the conversation turned to training of specialists and the need to train medium- and top-class specialists.

Until recently there were no projects where such specialists might work, but now that there are such projects, the training system will re-adjust itself accordingly, the president.

In reply, the staff suggested drawing up a list of specialties in short supply. Putin concurred with them.

When the president asked about the level of salaries at the plant, he was told that the average ranged between 120,000 and 150,000 rubles.

"And the ceiling? I am not asking about [Novatek chief Leonid] Mikhelson," Putin said jokingly.

In time the industry will not be short of specialists, even despite the difficult weather conditions in which they sometimes have to work, the president said.

Before the meeting, Putin toured the construction site of the Yamal LNG plant's second and third phases. Mikhelson told him of the project's main parameters, economic and social effects, jobs created and the modular technologies being used in the construction. The president was also informed about the phases' launch dates. The company management is hoping this might happen several months ahead of schedule.