The Pipe-Laying Device For Nord Stream 2 Has Disappeared From Gazprom's Reports
The pipe-laying vessel Akademik Chersky, which is capable of completing the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, may have changed ownership. The shipowner was Samara Heat and Power Property Fund (SHPPF), affiliated with Gazprom, but it is not listed in the list of monopoly affiliates attached to the company's quarterly report. RBC was the first to draw attention to this fact.
According to Gazprom's quarterly reports, it follows that the only pipe-laying company in Russia that has a modern dynamic (non-anchor) positioning system has ceased to belong to the Gazprom group. The new ultimate owner of the vessel is unknown. SHPPF was part of the Gazprom group as of March 31, 2020, and was mentioned in the list of affiliated companies, as of June 30, it is not mentioned in it. RBC assumed that the Fund, which at the end of March 2020 changed its address from Samara to Saint Petersburg, changed owners. This, according to the publication, indicates the change of the General Director of the SHPPF-instead of Andrey Timofeev, it is now headed by Alexander Smelkov. Gazprom could also use the right not to disclose information about the shipowner due to the threat of sanctions. This right is granted by the Russian government decree of April 4, 2019. SHPPF itself is a non-public company and is not required to disclose its membership.
In early June, RBC reported that the ship "Akademik Chersky," until the beginning of 2020, was listed as part of LLC "Gazprom FLOT," which is owned by JSC "Samara Heat and Power Property Fund" (SHPPF). This Fund changed its registration from Samara to Saint Petersburg at the end of March 2020. Other vessels are not listed in the property of the SHPPF. SHPPF, the owner of Akademik Chersky, was part of the Gazprom group as of March 31, according to the list of monopoly affiliates. The Fund is no longer on the new list, as of June 30. At the same time, the SHPPF is a current legal entity; it has not changed its name, according to an extract from the unified state register on July 28. This fact means that in the second quarter, the Fund changed its owner (after that, the SHPPF changed its CEO-Alexander Smelkov instead of Andrey Timofeev).
In early June, representatives of Gazprom noted that "the sanctions risks in connection with the operation of the vessel have been leveled." The pipe-laying company Akademik Chersky was listed on the website of Gazprom FLOT LLC as part of its operational fleet until the beginning of 2020. The supply vessels Ostap Sheremeta and Ivan Sidorenko (both built at the Amur shipyard in Komsomolsk-on-Amur) were also listed there. Now both suppliers do not appear in the "Gazprom fleet," and in the Russian Maritime Register of shipping, the owner of these vessels is listed as the company "Nobility." It is also not required to disclose the owners and was created at the end of April 2020, according to the USRL. The founders of the company "Nobility" with an authorized capital of 2 million rubles. the companies are SSE limited (25%) and Oil house (75%).
Nord Stream 2, which is owned by Gazprom, is the operator of the Nord Stream 2 project. It still has about 6% of the pipeline to complete, a section located in Danish Sea waters. The Danish Energy Agency (DEA) allowed Nord Stream 2 to lay pipes using vessels with a conventional (anchor) positioning system in the summer of 2020. Previously, it was mandatory on the usage of vessels with a dynamic positioning system. It was assumed that the completion of the marine gas pipeline would be "Akademik Chersky" and the pipe-laying barge "Fortuna" (owned by the state company "Mezhregiontruboprovodstroy"). Both of these vessels are currently in the port of Mukran. Nord Stream 2 is waiting until early August for the deadline for filing appeals against the DEA's decision. If the construction of the gas pipeline starts in August, it may be completed by October. However, additional sanctions against Nord Stream 2 may be passed by the US Congress by the end of September.