“The 14 vessels mark the biggest valued and most ambitious construction project undertaken in Russia and will enhance their claims further as a major energy producer,” says BRL Shipping Consultants. The value of the newbuild programme would be in excess of US$4.4Bn
“The orders had been held up due to lack of construction provision at Zvezda to build so many vessels in a short space of time,” reported BRL Shipping Consultants in its BRL Weekly Newbuilding Contracts report. “There was an appeal for part construction overseas with Samsung Heavy Industries agreeing to help. The latter was somewhat disappointed now to only receive a subcontract for hull building blocks for assembly and completion at Zvezda. The latter recently completed its first very large LNG carrier in a milestone for the shipyard.”
Smart LNG is a joint venture between Russian independent gas company Novatek and shipowner Sovcomflot. BRL reported that financing is approved for the newbuilding programme, stretching the employment to 2028. Leasing arrangements have now been signed allowing construction to start. Financing will be provided by Russian-based VEB.RF.
The first five vessels in the Yamalmax series were to be built as hulls 41 to 45 at Zvezda under a letter of intent. Built for the Arctic LNG-2 project and navigating the ice-infested waters of the Northern Sea Route, the newbuilds will be Arc7 ice class designs, with dual-fuel propulsion. BRL reports the cost of each newbuild will be US$315.36M. Propulsion power for the LNG carriers will initially be four-stroke DF engines, but could switch to the popular two-stroke, Otto-cycle, low-pressure dual-fuel engines over the course of the newbuilding programme. BRL reported that the current plans call for each LNG carrier to have four Wartsila 12V50DF and two 9L50 DF main engines. “This may change to WinGD X72DF series with such a long construction span.”
BRL reported that a single ARC7 ice-class LNG carrier was concluded last year as a prototype but with slightly differing dimensions and offering around 10,000 m3 more capacity. Ownership of this vessel will come under Sovcomflot and is not connected with the Smart LNG joint venture.