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First Yamal LNG cargo heads through Arctic to Asia

The first cargo from Russia’s Yamal LNG project to head through the Northern Sea Route has now set course for Asia, according to LNG Edge.

The laden 172,000 cubic metre (cbm) Vladimir Rusanov left the port of Sabetta on 25 June and is heading east through the Arctic, LNG Edge showed on 26 June.

The ice-breaker LNG vessel is expected to reach the easternmost point of the northern route through the Arctic on 6 July.

The vessel will reach Cape Dezhnev on the far east of Russia on 6 July, according to Russia’s Northern Sea Route Administration.

The Vladimir Rusanov is likely to deliver its cargo to northeast Asia, possibly to a terminal owned by Chinese state-owned major PetroChina. Chinese companies are major investors in Yamal.

The Northern Sea Route cuts the time it takes a cargo to reach Asia to 15 days, according to Yamal’s project partner France’s Total, compared with 30 days for a vessel heading west to Europe and then on to Asia via the Suez Canal.

The route east through the Arctic cannot be used during winter, as the ice is too thick even for ice-breaking tankers.

Since Yamal started production in late 2017, all cargoes to date have headed west towards Europe. Some of the cargoes were delivered directly into European terminals.

Others were taken to European ports and transferred onto conventional vessels that delivered the cargoes to destinations further afield, including Jordan, India and South Korea.

China received its first Yamal cargo on 1 June via the longer European route, according to LNG Edge.

The 170,000cbm Pskov lifted a Yamal cargo via a transfer at Belgium’s Zeebrugge port and transited the Suez Canal to deliver to Tianjin in China.

Test run in summer 2017

LNG has been delivered through the Northern Sea Route before, but not from Yamal itself.

Yamal’s project vessel, the 172,000cbm Christophe de Margerie, delivered a cargo from Norway’s Snohvit LNG plant to Boryeong in South Korea between July and August 2017 to test the route.

That was the first unescorted LNG tanker to carry a cargo through the Northern Sea Route.

Before that, the 150,000cbm Ob River delivered a Snohvit cargo to Tobata in Japan through the Arctic corridor between November and December 2012. The vessel was escorted by nuclear-powered icebreakers to clear its path.
Source: ICIS (By Alex Froley) (https://www.icis.com/resources/news/2018/06/26/10235291/first-yamal-lng-cargo-heads-through-arctic-to-asia/)

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