Russia’s Yamal LNG Ships First LNG to Japan
Russian independent Novatek announced June 26 that its arctic Yamal LNG plant has shipped a first LNG cargo to Japan.
The delivery was made in accordance with a long-term offtake agreement with French Total, which holds a 20% stake in Yamal LNG. The cargo was unloaded at the Tobata LNG terminal in accordance with the buyer's lifting and delivery schedule, Novatek said in a statement.
“Commencing LNG shipments to the Japanese market represents an important milestone for the company as Japan is an important LNG market and one of the priority destinations in our LNG marketing strategy,” noted Novatek chairman Leonid Mikhelson.
“Further development of our logistical chain using the Northern Sea Route and a transshipment terminal in Kamchatka will expand LNG supplies to Japan as well as strengthen trade and economic links between our respective countries,” he added.
Novatek announced June 7 that it had agreed with Russian state shipper Sovcomflot and China’s Silk Road Fund to establish a joint shipping venture. Maritime Arctic Transport (Mart) will carry LNG exports from Russian arctic projects to the Asia-Pacific region, as well as organise transit cargo traffic along the Northern Sea Route between Asia and Europe. China is expected to take Japan’s crown as the world’s largest LNG importer in the coming years.
Novatek is busy accelerating new projects. The company has boosted its profile with a strong push to export LNG from projects in the far east and Arctic since the Yamal LNG project, with three trains each of 5.5mn mt/yr, went online in 2017. It hopes to reach a final investment decision on the Arctic 2 LNG project very soon, and last month said it plans to raise its target for LNG production capacity to 70mn mt/yr by 2030, from the current 57mn mt/yr.
Total holds a 20% stake in Yamal LNG directly and it also has a 19% stake in Novatek. The French company bought a 10% interest in the Arctic LNG-2 project in March. Novatek sealed the sale of two further 10% stakes in Arctic 2 to China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC), and China National Offshore Oil Corp (Cnooc) in June.