Russia’s key role in capturing hard to reach Arctic energy resources has prompted two new initiatives from leading electric propulsion systems supplier ABB Marine, targeting both the nation’s newbuild and ship support sectors.
The company has established a new marine service centre at Murmansk, committed to supporting vessels operating in North-West Russia through their 25-30 year lifespan. It is also refocusing activities at its established St Petersburg office, by appointing a new manager responsible for newbuilding projects from the design stage through to systems delivery, in order to develop closer relations within Russia with owners, class, designers, shipyards and research institutes.
ABB Marine's offering in Russia extends across power generation and distribution, through automation, control and propulsion systems, representing a substantial part of the value of ships built.
The Russian government has pledged massive transport infrastructure development and associated shipbuilding plans to meet future demand for Arctic oil and gas, with projects pending for RosHydromet, Gazprom, Rosmoport, RosAtom, Norilsk Nickel and RosMorRechFlot covering ships ranging from research vessels to offshore support vessels, drilling vessels, icebreakers, product tankers, LNG carriers and auxiliary vessels.
ABB Marine new sales and services business manager, Russia, Sergey Shevchuk said: "We know what the requirements are for newbuilding to meet Russia's ambitious energy targets and now is the time to show our readiness to participate. The type of high ice class vessels that will be needed to meet the harsh environment waiting for them will require ABB involvement at the concept design stage. Electric power production and distribution systems, in which ABB specialises, have come to dominate ships built for icebreaking. Also, if the Azipod propulsion solution is preferred, that has direct consequences for hull shape and dimensions."
Shevchuk said ABB's new commitments to Russia also extended to encouraging local suppliers to provide components for ships built in Russia, in line with requirements set out by the Russian Government. "Our objective is to develop deeper relations with Russian enterprises." he said.
As well as partnering with The Krylov Institute on propeller hydrodynamic design and calculations, ABB Marine has a longstanding cooperation agreement with Russian enterprise Zvrzdochka, in Severodvinsk, which manufactures most of the propellers for ABB’s Azipod range.
Already a registered entity, the Murmansk service centre will be manned by Russian coordination staff and dedicated service engineers. An engineer training programme is underway at ABB facilities in Norway, Finland and Switzerland, with commissioning and site survey work to follow.
Nineteen high ice class vessels operating in Russian waters already have ABB systems installed, including 25 Azipod units. Twelve of these ships operate out of Murmansk. Two more tankers, to be built to the Russian Maritime Register of Shipping’s LU6 Ice Class by Admiralty Shipyard for Sovcomflot, will be the first Russian-built ships to feature ABB's Azipod technology (2 x 8.5MW units apiece). These 850 ft long ships will include ABB’s latest ACS6000 drive technology.
Shevchuk said that the next phase in ABB Marine’s commitments to developing within Russia would be consideration of how best to address the Russian Far East market.