The 5th International Arctic Forum reunited 3,600 Russian and international lawmakers, scientists and entrepreneurs as well as four of the eight countries of the Arctic Council on April 9.
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During the meeting, Russian President Vladimir Putin invited foreign investors to take part in the construction of port infrastructure in Murmansk and Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky that would permit to develop the Northern Sea Route.
He announced a massive expansion of public and private investments in the Arctic region. "The Arctic concentrates more than 10% of all investment from Russia," he said. "I am convinced that the importance of the Arctic factor in the country's economy will only grow."
"We invite our foreign partners to joint work to create port hubs at the endpoints of the (Northern Sea) route," Russian president added.
Russia is planning to construct ten new ports, develop a fleet of icebreakers and increase freight shipments on the maritime route, with the primary goal of reinforcing cooperation between the countries directly concerned by the Arctic.
About a hundred of research and logistics infrastructure projects will be initiated, probably with the support of Scandinavian companies. The Russian group Novatek inaugurated last year a gigantic scheme of production of liquid natural gas in the region. The Russian oil company, Rosneft, announced at the beginning of the month the creation of an "Arctic cluster" which will permit the extraction of 100 million tons per year by 2030.
The Northen Sea Route saved two weeks over the Suez Canal waterway and was previously open only in summer, but it is now navigable in winter, because of global warming. The northern region contains nearly a quarter of the world's fossil energy resources.