Sberbank lending $340m for Arctic oil transport project

By Andrei Skvarsky.

Sberbank, Russia’s largest bank, has agreed to lend $340m to Russia’s biggest shipping company for an Arctic oil shipment project.

The money, to be obtained by the Sofcomflot shipping group under a 14-year loan agreement with Sberbank CIB, the bank’s investment arm, would be used to build an infrastructure for shipping out crude all year round from the Novoportovskoye oil field in the Yamal Peninsula in northwestern Siberia, which is being developed by Gazprom.

Ice-class shuttle tankers would collect the oil at a terminal in the Gulf of Ob, Sberbank CIB and Sovcomflot said in a joint statement.

Sberbank Europe AG, a Sberbank subsidiary, is involved in the deal.

“This is the first time that [Sberbank] has provided long-term financing to Sovcomflot Group,” said Sovcomflot executive vice-president and chief financial officer Nikolay Kolesnikov.

The head of transport and infrastructure at Sberbank CIB, Dimitri Casvigny, said the agreement “highlights our aim to participate in initiatives of strategic importance to the national economy”. “We are very pleased that we were able to support the creation of a fleet of Arctic tankers,” he said.

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