As member of the Steering Committee, BSAG participated in the fifth SPbI (St. Petersburg Initiative) meeting on October 23.-24. in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Around one hundred attendants, mostly representing Russian businesses and public bodies, learned among other things about changes in Russian Environmental protection laws and about available funding for environmental investing. The meeting agenda was well balanced and presented relevant data and concrete projects (http://spbinitiative.ru/en/index.php?newLang=en).
For the first time in a SPbI meeting, present was also the representative of Kaliningrad city district administration Mr. Sergey Melnikov. The importance of getting the Kaliningrad waste water treatment plant operational as soon as possible was stressed by several participants, among them both international financing bodies and the representatives of the Russian Federation.
Mr. Melnikov announced that the Kaliningrad waste water treatment plant would be ready for taking into use in autumn 2015. However, in the discussions doubts were expressed regarding this time schedule. Mr. Melnikov felt confident that the coming football world championships in 2018 present a driver to finalize project.
Kaliningrad´s waste water treatment plant has been under construction on and off since 1976. President Putin promised to secure its operation according to the needs as Russia’s Commitment in the Baltic Sea Action Summit in Helsinki 2010.
Mr. Felix Karmazinov of St Petersburg Vodokanal presented data on the water treatment plan renovation programs in the Leningrad oblast and the Republic of Karelia. The tasks are difficult because of the many different stakeholders and regions. Vodokanal is doing active collaboration with i.a. the milk industry at the upstream region of river Neva, in order to stop inflow of hazardous substances and nutrients into the river.
Mr. Jaakko Henttonen, EBRD, presented funding used so far in different environmental projects in NW Russia. He reminded the audience that during the past 10 years, the Russian Federation, EBRD, NDEP, NIB and NEFCO have supported the impressive water treatment work at St Petersburg Vodokanal by 1 mrd Euro (1.000.000.000€)
Mrs. Irina Stepanenko from “FSUE Information-analytical centre of water industry development” announced that there is 1.2 billion Euro (1.200.000.000€) available as subsidies for Russian water treatment projects.
The use of LNG as a clean solution for shipping has been on SPbI´s agenda several meetings, as a preparation for the forthcoming low sulphur IMO regulations and the introduction of the Baltic Sea as a Sulphur Emission Control Area (SECA) and a Nitrogen Emission Control Area (NECA). Mrs Lolan Eriksson from Trafi, Finland, concluded that the introduction of LNG has been remarkable rapid and efficient during the last year, including several new LNG terminals around the Baltic Sea.
Mr. Vasiliy Tolstopyatov, Gazprom, presented Gazprom´s LNG terminal plans. The already announced terminal in the St Petersburg area is delayed at this point.
At the meeting, also actions and plans to mitigate water and air emissions from industrial sources in the Leningrad Oblast area and in the Republic of Karelia were presented.
A representative of GazEnergoStroy, Russia, presented a fully operational mid-sized plant for processing of poultry manure to ammonium sulphate and content-specified fertilizer. The plant is located in the Leningrad oblast where the need for such solutions is highest. This installation can form the beginning of the ending of the massive nutrient leakage from farms into the Baltic Sea.
As a final ceremony, three collaboration contracts were signed, among them a five year contract between the Finnish company SET Group and Unido/Russia to improve sustainable waste treatment, including hazardous waste and waste from electronics and waste water treatment in the Moscow area and South West Russia.
The next SPbI meeting will take place in early 2015 in Moscow.