Novatek, SCF celebrate first January NSR LNG transit

A Sovcomflot-owned icebreaking LNG carrier has made history by completing an eastbound voyage along the Northern Sea Route in January. The vessel previously loaded a cargo at Novatek’s Yamal LNG project in Sabetta for onward distribution to the Asia-Pacific market.

The 172,600 cbm Arc7 carrier Christophe de Margerie completed an independent passage along the eastbound part of the Northern Sea Route on January 16, having reached the Bering Strait in 11 days with an average speed of 9.6 knots.

The successful NSR passage proves that during the autumn-winter navigation season, commercial cargo shipping across the eastern part of the Russian Arctic becomes possible for an additional 1-2 months, according to Sovcomflot.

Moreover, this voyage is yet another step towards the year-round, safe navigation along the full length of the NSR. This will also help realise Russia’s plans to grow NSR cargo traffic and further unlock the route’s transit potential, the shipping firm said.

Christophe de Margerie was subsequently followed by a similar LNG tanker Nikolay Yevgenov, which is currently completing its independent passage along the NSR, Novatek said in a separate statement.

Both LNG tankers will deliver approximately 140 thousand tons of LNG produced at Yamal LNG to destinations in the Asia-Pacific region.

The total time of cargo delivery by this route is 40% shorter than the traditional route through the Suez Canal.

Simultaneously, another Arc7 ice-class LNG tanker Nikolay Zubov, traveling in the opposite direction to the port of Sabetta after offloading its LNG cargo, entered the Westbound ice route along the NSR on January 6 and subsequently reached the Ob Bay on January 17.

All three of the Arc7 vessels independently passed the ice-covered part of the NSR, without ice-breaker support. Novatek said.

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