Yamal LNG carrier delivers cargo to France’s Montoir after UK diversion

The 172,600-cbm LNG carrier Boris Vilkitsky has delivered a cargo from Novatek’s Yamal project in Russia to the Montoir-de-Bretagne import terminal in France after dock workers at the Grain LNG facility in the UK refused to unload it due to the Russia-Ukraine crisis.

Prior to arriving at Elengy’s LNG terminal in western France on Saturday, Greenpeace France activists confronted Boris Vilkitsky at sea.

“On board an inflatable, the activists displayed a banner reading “Fossil Fuels War” in front of an LNG tanker preparing to unload TotalEnergie’s gas in the port of Montoir-de-Bretagne in the west coast of France,” Greenpeace France said in a statement.

The organization said its activists have taken action at sea to “highlight the historical responsibility of fossil fuels in triggering and financing international conflict and to call on Europe to divest from Russian oil and gas and push for investment in renewable energies.”

UK ban

According to its AIS data provided by VesselsValue, the Arc7 LNG carrier left from Sabetta port in the Russian Arctic on February 25 after it loaded the cargo at the Novatek-operated Yamal LNG project.

Boris Vilkitsky changed course earlier last week from National Grid’s Grain LNG terminal in Kent to Montoir-de-Bretagne.

This followed a plea by UK union Unison, which represents many of the dock workers at the Grain LNG terminal, to stop two tankers from unloading LNG at Grain.

“The government must immediately intervene to stop two Russian tankers – containing enough liquid gas to supply the UK for up to 12 days – from docking in Kent at the weekend,” Unison said in a statement on Wednesday.

The Boris Vilkitsky and Fedor Litke were bound for Grain LNG with plans to unload on Sunday despite a law passed on Tuesday banning ships with any Russian connection from all UK ports, the union said.

“Unison is calling on transport secretary Grant Shapps to confirm that the ban applies to these two vessels, and that both will be prohibited from berthing at the Thames Estuary site, which is 30km from London,” it said.

Yamal LNG

Novatek’s Yamal LNG plant in Sabetta has three 5.5 mtpa liquefaction trains and one smaller unit with a capacity of about 900 thousand tons per year.

Besides independent producer Novatek that holds 50.1 percent in Yamal LNG, other shareholders include France’s TotalEnergies and China’s CNPC with a 20 percent stake, each, and the Silk Road Fund that owns a 9.9 percent share.

Boris Vilkitsky is one of fifteen ice-class carriers which serve the Yamal LNG project. Greece’s Dynagas and Chinese firms Sinotrans and China LNG Shipping own the LNG carrier.

Besides the Yamal LNG plant, Novatek is building the Arctic LNG 2 terminal, in which TotalEnergies is also a shareholder, and it operates the Vysotsk mid-scale facility.

France’s TotalEnergies, one of the world’s largest LNG players and a shareholder in Novatek, said last week it would “no longer provide capital for new projects” in Russia.

Moreover, the company said in a statement it “condemns Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine, which has tragic consequences for the population and threatens Europe.”

The company’s announcement followed moves by its peers Shell, BP, Equinor and others to exit their businesses in Russia.

Novatek statement

In a response to the current situation, Novatek also issued a statement on Friday.

“We continue to responsibly perform all our Russian and international contractual obligations with respect to the supply of energy to our many valued customers as well as implementing joint projects under our partnerships,” the firm said.

According to Novatek, these commitments “are important elements to ensure and maintain global energy security in a sustainable and responsible manner.”

“We strongly support every diplomatic effort at restoring peace and look forward to the prompt resolution of this current tragic situation. We also extend our sincere sympathy to all those affected by these events,” Novatek said.

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