-We are moving towards the investment decision, SDAG deputy Kirill Kolodtsov told journalists after meetings in Arkhangelsk this week. –This will be an integrated decision, which will include the construction of both the LNG plant and the underwater production complex, he added.

-This will be a contractual-based decision and we plan to take it in June, Kolodstov confirmed. It is expected that a "consolidated decision on the construction works" subsequently will be formally presented to the shareholders in September, Regnum reports.

Another SDAG deputy, Andre Goffart, in a media interview this week declined to estimate the project costs, but admitted that "the cost of developing the field will of course rise along with increasing market prices". He at the same time stressed that the project would be profitable if it was in production already now, advfn.com reports

Training of experts
According to company representative Kolodtsov, the complexity of the project is comparable with the “conquering of cosmos” in the 1950s and 1960s. –Therefore we will need qualified young specialists in all the project phases, he stressed, adding that Murmansk, Arkhangelsk, Naryan-Mar and St. Petersburg all will contribute with manpower. He also underlined that the SDAG is currently seeking to replace Norwegian and French engineers with Russian specialists.

The number of workers needed at the project sites will at any time range between 400 and 2500. With several shifts needed, the total number of specialists needed is likely to exceed 5000.

During his visit to Arkhangelsk this week, the SDAG representative signed a cooperation agreement with the local Northern (Arctic) Federal University on training of experts within all fields of the project’s production cycle, a press release from the university reads. Arkhangelsk has since year 2000 had university institute on oil and gas. According to SDAG a similar agreement has this week been signed also with the Murmansk State Technical University.

Novaya Zemlya
During his visit to Arkhangelsk, Kolodtsov also reiterated that SDAG intends to take use of infrastructure at the strongly militarized Novaya Zemlya in connection with field developments.

-The airport at Novaya Zemlya is located closest to the field, and it would therefore be the best for us, he said to Regnum, adding that his company already has developed a concept for how to work on the issue with the Ministry of Defence and regional authorities. The first steps in this direction will be taken in the course of 2011, Kolodtsov said. The company will have to settle relations with the military by year 2012-2013, when the development of the first project phase is planned started.

Novaya Zemlya is formally part of Arkhangelsk Oblast, although it is controlled and governed by the military. About 2500 people reside in the islands, by far most of them in the town of Belushya Guba. The Rogachevo air base is located nearby the town.

Please click here to view the original press release.