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    Russian LNGC Completes "Unique" Voyage


The LNG carrier travelled eastbound along the Northern Sea Route before the traditional start of the summer navigation season, and without icebreaker support for some of the way.

by: Joseph Murphy

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Russian LNGC Completes "Unique" Voyage

Russia's Novatek reported on June 1 that the Arc7 ice-class Christophe de Margerie LNG carrier (LNGC) used to ship LNG from its Yamal LNG project had travelled eastbound along the Northern Sea Route (NSR) and reached the Bering Strait in only 12 days. The vessel did so before the traditional start of the summer navigation season in average ice conditions.

"Eastbound transportation of LNG along the NSR is not normally performed in May as this represents one of the most difficult months for navigation," Novatek said.

The Sovcomflot-operated Christophe de Margerie left the port of Sabetta on May 18 after loading up with LNG and passed the Ob Bay and a part of the Kara Sea without ice-breaker assistance. It then met with Atomflot's Yamal nuclear icebreaker which escorted the LNGC along NSR's eastern section. The voyage was 2,563 nautical miles (4,750 km) long. The vessel will deliver its cargo to China.

"This unique tanker voyage is the result of Novatek's detailed logistics solutions, exceptional ice performance of our Arctic LNG tanker fleet and the coordinated work of the entire team," company CEO Leonid Mikhelson said. "We are actively working to expand the eastbound navigation season for the NSR and looking forward to further development of state support for this trade route by increasing icebreaking capabilities as well as full-scale navigation and hydrographic assistance for shipping."

This support will enable Novatek to "significantly contribute to the annual cargo turnover along the NSR by implementing our large-scale LNG projects to produce up to 70mn mt/yr by 2030."

Christophe de Margerie was the CEO of Total who took the French company into the Yamal LNG joint venture with Novatek.