Novatek set to launch Murmansk LNG transshipment ops as giant FSU arrives

Russian LNG exporter Novatek is set to launch transshipment operations near Murmansk following the arrival of the 361,600-cbm Saam FSU at the site in Ura Bay.

According to a statement by Russian state-owned maritime infrastructure firm Rosmorport, the FSU arrived in Ura Bay in the Barents Sea during the night on June 26-27.

Rosmorport’s pilots are involved in anchoring ops to fix the 400 meters long and 60 meters long unit to the seabed.

Following commissioning, Rosmorport’s Murmansk branch will also assist LNG carriers in the Kola Bay and also to load and unload LNG at the FSU, it said.

The non-propelled unit was towed for some four months from Hanhwa Ocean’s Okpo yard (previously known as DSME) in Geoje, South Korea.

The FSU’s AIS data shows that it left the yard on February 22.

Novatek chartered the FSUs from GTLK

Back in June 2020, Hanwha Ocean secured an order for two giant LNG FSUs worth about $748.2 million from Russian state leasing agency GTLK.

Both of the FSUs feature GTT’s NO96 GW membrane containment tech.

After that, Japan’s MOL said in September 2021 that it signed a letter of intent with GTLK to buy 49 percent shares in the FSU owner companies.

MOL said that the FSU owner companies have previously entered into bareboat charter agreements with Arctic Transshipment, a joint venture of Novatek and TotalEnergies.

Novatek set to launch Murmansk LNG transshipment ops as giant FSU arrives
Saam FSU (Image: Rosmorport)

During the same year, TotalEnergies also purchased a 10 percent participation interest in Arctic Transshipment that will operate the complexes in the Kamchatka and Murmansk regions.

However, TotalEnergies wrote down its 19.4 percent interest in Novatek last year and withdrew its representatives of the company from the board of Novatek due to European sanctions imposed on Russia and Russian companies.

This means that Novatek is now probably the only charterer of the two FSUs.

Second FSU

The second giant FSU, named Koryak, is still located at the Okpo yard, its AIS data shows.

This FSU should depart to Kamchatka later this year to start serving Novatek’s second transshipment terminal in Bechevinskaya Bay.

Novatek previously said that these transshipment terminals will reduce voyage costs and greenhouse gas emissions.

It currently operates the large Yamal LNG project, the medium-scale Vysotsk facility, and is also building the Arctic 2 LNG terminal.

The Arctic LNG 2 project located on the Gydan peninsula includes the construction of three LNG trains with a capacity of 6.6 Mtpa, each, using gravity-based structure platforms.

Novatek is planning to launch the first GBS by the end of this year.

The firm is also working to develop the Murmansk LNG project and recently obtained a Russian patent for its proprietary technology called “Arctic Mix” for large-scale natural gas liquefaction using mixed refrigerants.

Novatek said it developed this LNG process technology to implement the company’s large-scale projects on gravity-based structures with a production capacity of 6+ mmtpa per LNG train.

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