Nenets Autonomous Okrug

Physical geography and climate
Population, economic development and infrastructure
Indigenous land use and dependence on the environment
Environmental threats
Map (1997)
Article collection

Population, economic development and infrastructure

The indigenous peoples of the okrug are the western branch of the Nenets and the Izhma-Komi. Both ethnic groups live together in the Bolshezemelskaya Tundra, with common subsistence patterns, while the Nenets occupy the remaining areas. A considerable Russian population is confined to the Pechora Valley and to the area west of the Timan Ridge, distinctly the most populated areas of the okrug. According to official censuses, the Nenets population has been increasing significantly during the last century, but part of the increase may be due to incomplete coverage during the earlier censuses. The Izhma-Komi have not earlier been registered separately from the remaining Komi, but finally received the status as a "numerically small indigenous people" in 2004. Both ethnic groups are mainly rural tundra populations, while immigrant Russians and others live predominantly concentrated in urban and denser populated areas. The indigenous centre is the town Naryan-Mar, where the Komi today are more numerous than the Nenets.

Population of the okrug in 1989: 54,000, of which 21,000 in Naryan-Mar (Nenets: 12%, Komi: 9.5%)
Population of the okrug in 2002: 45,000, of which 27,000 in Naryan-Mar

Transportation in the okrug is by ship on the Pechora River and along the coast, and by airplane and helicopter. No roads or railroads connect the area with the south. The capital Naryan-Mar is connected with daily commercial flights. Many villages have air strips for small airplanes.

Industries have long been restricted to timber (Naryan Mar) and fish processing (e.g. Naryan-Mar, Indiga, Shoyna). The 1990s experienced the start of the oil boom which has started to cause a major infrastructure and oil/gas production development in the Bolshezemelskaya Tundra and on the island Kolguev. Until now, production has started in the area south of the Pechora mouth (Ardala oil field, since 1994), in the southern Bolshezemelskaya Tundra around Kharyaga, and in the arae around Varandey. An above-ground pipeline has been built (CONOCO) that connects the southern production areas with the major sub-surface pipeline (KOMINEFT) constructed earlier for the Northern Komi oil production in the Usinsk area. Offshore oil production is started (2005) at the Prirazlomnoe field (60 km from the shore at Varandey). Another pipeline is build farther east in the tundra, which will connect with the KOMINEFT line at Inta in the Komi Republic. Many other development projects are being discussed. The political constraints, and the poor infrastructure throughout the okrug have hitherto been slowing down international enthusiasm, but there is no doubt that oil development will happen throughout the area. Pipeline systems are planned to connect the oil fields with new tanker terminals in Naryan-Mar, Varandey, Indiga and Bugrino (Kolguyev), and the major export route will be along the Arctic coast.