The development of the Arctic shelf is one of the main tasks facing the Russian economy in the coming decades. Unfortunately, it is complicated by an international ban on the supply of relevant equipment. But this is also for the better, because now Russian engineers will develop and manufacture the necessary equipment on their own, and it will be even better than foreign analogues. On August 31, 2017, at a government meeting
, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev presented an optimistic state program "Social and Economic Development of the Arctic Zone of the Russian Federation for the Period up to 2025".
In accordance with the new program, Russian companies are to begin in 2018 to develop prototypes of promising autonomous underwater seismic prospecting and drilling, writes
According to experts, underwater robots have an advantage over existing methods and technical systems, that is, bottom sensors and surface towing of a seismic mowing system.
Among the participants in the Arctic exploration program are 11 federal executive bodies and the Kurchatov Institute. The program provides for the launch of the floating observatory "North Pole", the creation of a unified information and telecommunications system of the transport complex, the reconstruction of the Zhataisky ship repair shipyard and the active development of mineral reserves (since 2021).
Dmitry Rogozin also spoke at a government meeting. He spoke about attempts to attract private capital to form a program to create an atomic icebreaker "Leader", which can be created at the turn of 2024-2025.
Underwater robots are also one of the promising areas. They will be able to find and produce hydrocarbons not only in the Arctic, but also in any other region of the World Ocean. The leading Russian enterprises of the United Shipbuilding Corporation and the Rosatom State Corporation are reportedly designing robots. Direct work on the design of the complexes will be performed by the Central Design Bureau of Marine Engineering (CDB MT) Rubin, in collaboration with the Advanced Research Foundation (FPI).
Igor Denisov, Deputy General Director of the FPI, said that his organization has been implementing such projects for several years now. In particular, underwater autonomous power supply and transportation systems have been developed. There are technical proposals for the creation of major subsystems, including subsystems of seismic exploration and autonomous drilling. There is a great demand for more efficient seismic exploration technologies: after all, it is necessary to explore vast areas in the Arctic and throughout the World Ocean. This year alone, Rosneft plans to conduct seismic exploration on an area of 25,000 km².
Rubin Central Design Bureau developed a project for a seismic prospecting system. It is a large container that is lowered to the bottom with several unmanned submarines. Each submarine is equipped with hydro- and geoacoustic sensors. These submarines can stay autonomous for a long time - and conduct a study of the shelf for the presence of minerals.
The program "Socio-economic development of the Arctic zone of the Russian Federation for the period up to 2025" provides for "the creation of a full-scale prototype of an underwater seismic survey complex and the development of a continuous underwater drilling technology based on a test of a prototype of a robotic module."
Similar programs for the development of the Arctic are accepted periodically. For example, in 2014, the state program “ Socio-economic development of the Arctic zone of the Russian Federation for the period up to 2020
” was approved, which provides for the industrial development of the Arctic shelf, new fields of strategic metals, other minerals, the construction of a social transport infrastructure, sea route. Unfortunately, optimistic plans do not always correspond to reality. For example, according to the original plan, “Baltiysky Zavod” was supposed to pass the nuclear icebreaker of the project 22220 “Arctic” before the end of 2017, but then the schedule was shifted to the first half of 2019
- there were problems with the supply of turbines from the Kharkov Turbine Plant. And it is still unknown whether they will be able to complete construction at least in 2019.
Previously, the Arctic development programs did not provide funding, but only set the development vector. Now for the first time the program will allocate a budget.
The prepared draft state program on the socio-economic development of the Arctic zone of the country is a set of measures for the development of the region from 2018 to 2025. In the first three years, program developers propose to allocate 12 billion rubles. In subsequent years - another 58 billion rubles. Together with the expenses of the Ministry of Defense, the amount of investments will reach 144 billion rubles.
The development of underwater robots will also receive funding through the FPI. “The calculations of the economic evaluation of the implementation of these technologies confirm the feasibility of their creation and economic attractiveness. The estimates show a significant economic benefit for the Russian Federation and the prospects for the development of this industry in terms of advantages in the global market, ”said the head of the FPI project group, Viktor Litvinenko.