Russian LNG bunkering to start in the Baltic
Russia's first LNG bunkering vessel, the Dmitry Mendeleev, has been fully tested and is poised to sail to the Baltic coast, the owner Gazprom Neft said August 13. Operations are scheduled to start later this year. This marks a departure for the company, which also manufactures very low sulphur marine fuel.
With a capacity of 5,800 m³ the vessel will provide ship-to-ship LNG transportation and refuelling at ports in the busy Gulf of Finland and the Baltic Sea: St Petersburg, Ust-Luga, Primorsk, Kaliningrad and Vyborg.
Gazprom Neft said: “In successfully implementing Russia’s first project to build an LNG bunkering vessel, Gazprom Neft has, effectively, created a new market sector for the country – in marine gas motor fuel – from scratch. This year will see us starting commercial LNG operations in the Baltic region.”
Its Arc4 ice-class reinforced hull means it can cut through ice almost a metre thick and it is designed to use boil-off gas as fuel. All the vessel's LNG-bunkering equipment is fully compliant with MARPOL and ECO-S environmental standards, Gazprom Neft said. The vessel is named after the 19th century Russian chemist who organised the elements into the Periodic Table.
Gazprom Neft did not say where the LNG would come from, but as well as its major Yamal LNG plant on Russia's northern coast, privately owned Novatek also operates a small-scale plant in Vysotsk, also in the St Petersburg region.
Last month, Gazprom Neft’s Moscow refinery started production of marine gasoil, with a low enough sulphur content to be used on international as well as domestic shipping routes. The first consignment, of 10,000 metric tons (mt), has been shipped to customers in St Petersburg. The Moscow refinery is expected to produce 100,000 mt of hybrid marine fuel — "manufactured to the company’s own bespoke formulation" — by the end of 2021, Gazprom Neft said.