LUKoil's plans to build an oil terminal on the island of Vysotsky (Leningrad Region) have been approved at a public hearing, which took place on Friday, January 17 in St. Petersburg. Expert opinions were provided by scientists from the Applied Chemistry planning institute, the Central Research Institute for Marine Transport, the Petrokhimtekhnologia (Petrochemical Technology) institute, and also the Russian Natural Resources Ministry's Central Committee for Natural Resources and the Environment in St. Petersburg and the Leningrad Region.
'The effect the oil terminal will have on the environment is within acceptable limits,' said Leonid Alexeev, the lading auditor of the Ekoloid company. Experts from the Central Committee for Natural Resource are worried that in the event of an accident within the port basin, the resulting oil slick would damage carefully protected nature zones in the Vyborg area. However, according to Vladimir Grachev, the chairman of the State Duma's Environment Committee, 'a thorough evaluation of the project allows as to hope that the terminal will operate without any accidents.'
LUKoil earlier bought a controlling stake in Baltkhimexport, which had received permission to construct a chemical export terminal in Vysotsk, from Severstaltrans. Preparatory work is currently being carried out in Vysotsk - the land is being cleared, ballast is being laid beneath railway tracks, and electrical power lines are being erected.
LUKoil North-West Petroleum intends to bring the first section of the oil terminal into use by the end of 2003. The volume of petroleum handled by the port in 2003 is planned to be 2.5 million tonnes, and by 2005 it should rise to 10-12 million tonnes per year. The terminal will be supplied by LUKoil's Ukhta, Nizhny Novgorod, and Perm refineries.
Following the summit in Riga on November 30, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg explained how the alliance could respond to Russia's 'new aggression against Ukraine.'