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Russian firm opens bidding process for 'alternative' to Suez Canal

A "Welcome to Egypt" sign can be seen across the Suez Canal on 30 March 2021 in Ismailia, Egypt. [Mahmoud Khaled/Getty Images]
A "Welcome to Egypt" sign can be seen across the Suez Canal on 30 March 2021 in Ismailia, Egypt. [Mahmoud Khaled/Getty Images]

A Russian company is seeking bids from contractors for the massive Vostok Oil project, which is expected to be available for oil tankers to use as an alternative to Egypt's Suez Canal by 2024, Reuters reported on Monday.

Rosneft aims to begin shipping oil from the planned project via the Northern Sea Route, which shortens the journey time to the energy-hungry markets of Asia. According to Reuters, the company has already met large contractors from Italy, Germany, China, South Korea and Japan.

Earlier this year, Russia's energy ministry said that the huge container ship blocking the Suez Canal highlighted the safety and sustainability of its Northern Sea Route (NSR) and Russian energy pipelines.

The project will involve the construction of three airfields, two sea terminals, a railway line, fifty ocean-going ships and facilities to generate 3,600 megawatts of power. Rosneft said that it will continue talks with potential contractors and suppliers in Europe and the Middle East.

Vostok Oil, in which global commodities trader Trafigura has a 10 per cent stake, is one of Russia's biggest oil projects. It is comparable in size to the exploration of West Siberia in the 1970s or the US Bakken oil region over the past decade. Rosneft has said that it seeks to sell stakes in the project to more partners.

READ: Ship owner says Suez Canal was at fault over Ever Given grounding

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