Sovcomflot’s ice-class LNG carrier Christophe de Margerie has completed its transit through the northern sea route, sailing through the Bering Strait and on course to arrive at Boryeong LNG terminal in South Korea on August 15.
The journey is a landmark for the 172,600m³ Arc 7 LNG carrier, the first of 15 ice-class LNG carriers built to load cargoes from Yamal LNG in the Russian Arctic, which starts commercial production next year and which will load its commissioning cargoes this autumn. Christophe de Margerie is only the fifth LNG carrier to transit the ice-bound waterway.
In summer, when the Arctic sea ice melts to just 2.1m thick, the ice-class LNG carriers will have the option to sail the northern sea route to deliver Yamal LNG cargoes to customers in South Korea, Japan, China and Taiwan. In winter, they will tranship cargoes via Montoir in France and Zeebrugge in Belgium.
VesselsValue’s AIS-tracking data shows that Christophe de Margerie sailed through the Bering Strait on Sunday, fully laden and without an icebreaker escort, heading south into the Bering Sea towards South Korea. The vessel took on the test cargoes at Snohvit in Norway and is due to complete the voyage in just 15 days.
The 16.5 million tonne a year (mta) Yamal LNG project is led by Novatek and Total. “The utilisation of the route from Europe to eastern and Southeast Asia through the northern sea route halves the transportation time to market compared to the traditional route,” Yamal LNG said in a statement.
“The start of LNG shipments through the NSR with the Arc 7 ice-class tanker will help to increase cargo turnovers and develop navigation in the Arctic ocean. The navigation routes for high-tonnage ships through the NSR have already been used and tested, providing security and efficiency of navigation.”