VEB.RF Presents its own Infrastructure Projects Quality Assessment System in Paris
VEB.RF’s Deputy Chairperson Svetlana Yachevskaya presented a new Russian Infrastructure Project Assessment and Certification System and the Rosinfra infrastructure platform to the French and international business communities. The system and the platform will enable Russian and foreign investors to assess risks and prospects of PPP infrastructure projects. The system was demoed on 5 October 2020, the first day of the Paris Infraweek organised under the aegis of the French Ministry of Economy and Finance.
According to Svetlana Yachevskaya, almost all the countries view infrastructure investment as one of the main growth and post-crisis economic recovery drivers. In 2019, Russia invested more than USD73bn in infrastructure construction, including USD37bn of private investments. Infrastructure investment took a serious blow from the pandemic: investors are reluctant to participate in new projects, risks are increasing, the governments find different investment avenues, for example, businesses and population support.
“This environment compels investors to impose new quality project requirements; economic, social, environmental project impact assessment becomes more important. VEB.RF, the National PPP Centre and AECOM developed the Infrastructure Project Assessment and Certification System following recommendations of the G20 Infrastructure Working Group and Quality Infrastructure Investments Principles (QII) to make assessment and certification more comfortable for Russian and international investors and improve projects assessment quality. This effort was joined by the OECD, the World Bank, the New Development Bank, and other organisations,” Svetlana Yachevskaya said.
Last September, VEB.RF published a draft of the Infrastructure Project Assessment and Certification System and invited Russian and international investors to test the system. First transactions assessed under the new methodology will be effected already in Q1 2021. The system is currently negotiated with the BRICS member countries for its adoption by BRICS.
According to VEB.RF’s Deputy Chairperson, the system was developed to assist investors, national and international banks in proper assessment of Russian infrastructural project risks. The system provides access to all particular features of a project, defines project strengths and weaknesses at an embryonic stage, gives recommendations to project initiators to improve the risk profile and bring it in line with the QII guidelines. “We would like to create an ecosystem to enable the government, investors, advisers, financial organisations and other stakeholders to collaborate to improve projects quality,” Svetlana Yachevskaya added.
Rosinfra platform features the largest Russian infrastructure projects database, which contains information on 3,894 ongoing projects, 1,166 project initiatives, and more than 5,400 market participants. A digital project office is under way to allow market participants to prepare projects online. This service is unique in the international market. International investors and financial organisations are invited to use the platform (en.rosinfra.ru) to discover the Russian PPP market and select potentially interesting investment projects.
The VEB.RF Group believes that the implementation of the Infrastructure Project Assessment and Certification System will attract circa USD13bn to the Russian infrastructure over five years, i.e. USD2.6bn per annum that represents 12% of the average annual volume of direct investment in Russia over the last five years.
During the Paris Infraweek, Svetlana Yachevskaya also had a meeting with the Managing Director of the French Infrastructure Agency, Fin Infra, Jean Bensaid. The parties discussed collaboration opportunities and the state of the public private partnership market.
Russia is implementing a number of PPP infrastructure projects with participation of international investors and organisations. Such capital-intensive projects include the Western High-Speed Diameter, Pulkovo Airport in Saint Petersburg and Lavna Sea Port in Murmansk. Last year, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank approved USD500mn credit facility to upgrade Russian transport infrastructure. The first trench (USD96.7mn) will be invested in rehabilitation of R-21 Kola highway from Saint Petersburg to the Russia-Norway border via Petrozavodsk, Murmansk, and Pechenga.
Last year, a concession agreement was signed with foreign partners to create a MSW treatment and storage facility in the Kaliningrad Region. This year has not yet seen infrastructure transactions with international investors due to the overall economic slowdown caused by the pandemic.
On 29 June 2019, the G20 leaders signed the Osaka Declaration to approve the Quality Infrastructure Investments Principles (QII) for implementation at the national level by all the G20 countries. Russia is developing its National Infrastructure Project Assessment and Certification System to implement the QII principles using the best international practices. This effort initiated by the Russian Ministry of Finance is undertaken by VEB.RF jointly with the National PPP Centre and AECOM. The system sets quality infrastructure projects guidelines to ensure economic efficiency, safety, resilience to natural disasters, social outcomes, state-of-the-art innovative technologies and approaches, and better infrastructure management.
Zvezda Begins Construction of Second Aframax Oil Tanker Financed by VEB.RF
The Zvezda shipyard has begun building the second Aframax oil tanker financed by the VEB.RF Group. The hull production workshop started metal cutting for components of the future ship, using a sophisticated gas cutting machine.
The contract to build two oil tankers for subsequent chartering was signed by Rosneft, Zvezda, the VEB.RF Group and SKF Eco (part of Sovcomflot Group) in September 2018 during the 4th Eastern Economic Forum. The tanker is scheduled for delivery to the customer in 2022. VEB.RF uses lease financing for the project.
The ships can be used for year-round navigation in ice-bound conditions. The new-generation tankers are designed to run on liquefied natural gas (LNG), which significantly reduces hazardous air pollutants as compared with conventional fuels: SOx by 100%, NOx by 76% and CO2 by 27%.
The project shows that large oil tankers can use gas as their main fuel, which is an environmentally responsible approach. The Zvezda shipyard already has four VEB.RF-financed ships in the pipeline.