Siberian Meridian railway mega-project is estimated at almost 5 trillion rubles
The government has begun considering a new mega-project: the Siberian Meridian, announced last year by Vladimir Putin, which will connect the ports of the Pacific and Indian Oceans with the the Northern Sea Route. The project includes both construction sites that are only planned, such as the Northern Latitudinal Railway, and newly built lines in Siberia and the Arctic. The cost of the Siberian Meridian is estimated at 4.9 trillion rubles. According to analysts, the project is promising, but there is no spare specialists and money at the moment.
According to preliminary calculations, the International transport corridor Siberian meridian (Arctic-Siberia-Asia) will cost ₽4.93 trillion including VAT. A source familiar with the progress of the project told Kommersant that these calculations are being prepared for consideration by the committee. The Ministry of Transport has explained Kommersant that the issue of submitting it for consideration is “still in development”. There were no comments from Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khusnullin, who supervises the project.
The project involves the creation of cargo railway communication between China and Arctic seaports on Northern Sea Route, bypassing the Trans-Siberian Railway, and covering large parts of Siberia and Arctic by 2035. In particular it's a double-track electrified railway ring Salekhard-Nadym-Urengoy-Surgut-Tyumen-Yekaterinburg-Perm-Yaroslavl-Obskaya-Salekhard. The Siberian meridian consists of sections with varying degrees of development and coherence. Thus, it includes the Northern Latitudinal Procession (Obskaya-Salekhard-Nadym-Khorey, concession agreement has been already signed) and Northern Latitudinal Procession-2 (Bovanenkovo-Sabetta, the agreenment is under discussion) projects., the concession agreement has been also signed on the Kyzyl-Kuragino section, but the capacity is being clarified. It is proposed extended the section to the Ars-Suuri border station, which will connect it to the planned Mungan-Ovoot-Erdenet line in Mongolia.
Large railway constructions have been also planned: Sosnogorsk - Indiga port (506 km), Urengoy - Norilsk (830 km), Nizhnevartovsk - Bely Yar - Lesosibirsk - Yarki - Ust-Ilimsk (1995 km) and Lesosibirsk - Igarka (1050 km). Russian Railways JSC decided not to discuss the new project.
Mikhail Burmistrov, the Head of Infoline-Analytics, thinks that the Northern Meridian looks unrealistic in current conditions. Russian Railways JSC is focused on the Eastern polygon. It has two powerful points of growth, the expert explains: container transportations on the Trans-Siberian Railway and coal transportation on Baikal–Amur Mainline.
Gazprom is occupied now with the Amur Gas Processing Plant (GPP), the second stage of the Power of Siberia Plant; NOVATEK organizes export via the Northern Sea Route and builds a terminal in Kamchatka. Mikhail Burmistrov has shared that these companies exhaust the circle of potential investors of the Northern Meridian. "The project is interesting, its potential is high, but all the potential investors have no opportunities to deal with it in the next two years", said the expert.