Putin Orders the Creation of State Shipbuilding Champion

Tuesday, March 13, 2007
President Vladimir Putin ordered the government and the Industry and Energy Ministry to prepare a draft decree on setting up a state-controlled shipbuilding compan, Moscow Times reported. Shipbuilding is one of the three industries that the government wants to develop as part of its drive to diversify the economy away from oil and gas exports -- a bid spearheaded by First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov. The other two sectors are the aircraft-building and space industries. The decree should be completed within the week, Putin said at Monday's Cabinet meeting. Putin added that Ivanov would supervise the creation of the company.

An Industry and Energy Ministry spokeswoman said Monday that she was unaware of any prospective candidates to head the company. The federal budget will set aside $3.5b on boosting civil shipbuilding from 2008 to 2015, while Russian companies will need $22.8b worth of new ships and oil rigs over this time frame, the Industry and Energy Ministry said in an e-mailed presentation. Construction of service ships and oil and gas rigs for offshore projects will account for two-thirds of the companies' anticipated spending, the ministry said. Most of the orders are expected to come from Gazprom, Rosneft and LUKoil, Industry and Energy Minister Viktor Khristenko said in a speech at the State Duma last month.

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