Belgian And Dutch Dredgers Help Russia Deepen And Widen Ob Estuary To Handle LNG Ships – OpEd


Under contract from Rosatom, Dutch and Belgian dredging ships have removed more than 32 million tons of earth and rock at the bottom of the Ob estuary, deepening and widening the channel so that it will be able to handle larger LNG ships docking at Sabetta and Utrenneye in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous District.

They will continue their work next summer, ultimately removing more than 100 million cubic meters of frozen seabed. ( and

Once the dredging is completed, Moscow plans to have its icebreakers keep the channel open year around, with as many as nine LNG ships arriving and departing each day, dramatically increasing Russia’s capacity to export liquefied natural gas and reducing its dependence on gas pipelines, many of which are now at risk of rupture because of melting permafrost.

Russian and foreign environmentalists fear that this project and the continuing use of the Ob estuary will destroy unique wildlife there (

Paul Goble

Paul Goble is a longtime specialist on ethnic and religious questions in Eurasia. Most recently, he was director of research and publications at the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy. Earlier, he served as vice dean for the social sciences and humanities at Audentes University in Tallinn and a senior research associate at the EuroCollege of the University of Tartu in Estonia. He has served in various capacities in the U.S. State Department, the Central Intelligence Agency and the International Broadcasting Bureau as well as at the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Mr. Goble maintains the Window on Eurasia blog and can be contacted directly at [email protected] .

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