LNG carrier makes landmark Arctic transit
Friday, Aug 25, 2017
The icebreaking LNG tanker Christophe de Margerie has completed a milestone unaided passage from Europe to Asia via the Arctic’s Northern Sea Route (NSR).

Total said that the ARC7 ice-class vessel had traversed the NSR en route from Norway to South Korea, using the Arctic maritime course that has become navigable owing to global warming.

The Christophe de Margerie is “the first commercial vessel to travel alone the Northern Sea Route, which permits reaching Asia in 15 days via the Bering Strait,” said Total, which said the voyage would take just half the time it takes to travel to Asia via the Suez Canal.

The 300 metre long vessel was launched in June and is the first ice-class LNG tanker that can travel the northern route without escorting icebreakers from July to November. Merchant vessels have until now always needed icebreakers to accompany them.

The tanker left Snovhit in Norway – where Total has a minority stake in the LNG facilities – on its first LNG cargo voyage on July 27 after taking on LNG and is travelling to the port of Boryeong in South Korea.

The specially outfitted LNG tanker, which has a shipping capacity of 80,000 tonnes, previously started test voyages without cargo in March.

The vessel is the first of a 15-strong fleet that Total and its partners have ordered to transport gas from the Yamal LNG project, located on an Ob River estuary peninsula along Russia’s Arctic coast, and in which Total holds a 20% stake.

The first cargo loadings at Yamal LNG are expected in October, with commercial production scheduled for next year. At times when the NSR’s ice thickness exceeds the fleet’s capabilities, LNG will be transported to Europe and then transferred to the conventional route through the Suez Canal. The first company to transit the NSR carrying LNG was Gazprom Marketing & Trading, which took Dynagas’ 145,700 cubic metre ice-class 1A vessel to Japan in late 2012.

This NewsBase commentary is from our GLNG publication. To sign up for your free trial, click this link: http://newsbase.com/publications/glng-global-lng

Read more NewsBase top stories via this link: http://bit.ly/2h95NUx

Find out more about Asian Oil and Gas from NewsBase