Putin is ready to “decarbonize Europe”. With Arctic LNG
It was yet another of the widely publicized meetings where President Putin sat down with one of his most loyal business leaders and discussed new and big plans in the industry.
Leonid Mikhelson is a frequent guest at the Kremlin, and his Novatek is one of Putin’s favorite businesses. In recent years, the natural gas producer has secured a significant number of permit areas across the country and has started developing huge new projects, including in remote areas of the Arctic. All with the blessing of the Kremlin.
Among the new plants is Yamal LNG, which is said to now produce 14 percent more than its initial production capacity. And by 2023, the first Arctic LNG 2 train should be operational.
According to Mikhelson, the Arctic LNG 2 is moving ahead ahead of schedule, and the third and final train, which was originally scheduled to be ready in 2026, is now expected to be completed in 2025.
Novatek today represents around 5% of global LNG production. And by 2035, Russian LNG production will reach 140 million tonnes, making the country a world leader in the field.
Leonid Mikhelson and Vladimir Poutin agree that LNG is ‘clean fuel’, which I can use to modernize the transport sector
In their May 17th meeting, Putin cherished Novatek for his “serious contribution to the development of green energy” and offered his full support to the company’s plans to build a network of LNG depot stations across Europe.
According to Mikhelson, around 2,000 tonnes of LNG are now delivered to gas stations abroad each month. Among them, ten stations in Germany and Poland. And many more are said to be in the planning.
“This is what we call a carbon neutral fuel in Germany,” Mikhelson said.
“Excellent,” Putin replied, adding that it all fits well with current decarbonization plans in Europe.
LNG filling stations are also being built in Russia, Mikhelson said. And these are “even better,” because they also offer liquefied hydrocarbon gas and compressed gas, he said.
The truck manufacturer KAMAZ is currently building a large number of engines and vehicles that can run on liquefied fuels.
However, the Kremlin’s positive outlook on the future of LNG is unlikely to be shared by energy officials in Europe.
Natural gas was once touted as a bridging fuel that could lead to a shift away from coal, but it is coming under increasing scrutiny as governments pursue more ambitious climate goals. The political initiatives of the European Commission called the European Green Deal include an ambition to make Europe climate neutral by 2050.
Growing opposition to LNG is also reflected in new report from the International Energy Agency Net zero by 2050. The report released this week points out that building a global energy sector with net zero emissions requires “an unprecedented transformation in the way energy is produced, transported and used around the world.”