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Latest Arc7 LNG ship delivers 1st cargo, another waits outside Yamal

The latest vessel from a 15-strong fleet of Arc7-classed liquefied natural gas (LNG) tankers began operations this week with another waiting outside the Yamal LNG plant in Arctic Russia, Refinitiv shipping data showed on Friday.

Nikolay Urvantsev delivered its first cargo from Yamal, operated by independent Russian gas producer Novatek, to France on Wednesday while Georgiy Ushakov has been stationary just outside the entry point to the Gulf of Ob since Sunday.

Georgiy Ushakov is one of six ice-breaking LNG tankers to serve Yamal that is owned by a 50-50 joint venture of U.S.-listed Teekay LNG and China LNG Shipping, a unit of COSCO Dalian.

As such, sanctions that were imposed by the United States on Chinese shipping companies accused of carrying Iranian oil, including COSCO Dalian, have blocked these tankers too, Teekay has said.

Yakov Gakkel, the last of the ice-breaking tankers ordered by Yamal, is still close to the Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME) Okpo shipyard in South Korea, undergoing sea trials, the data showed.

This tanker is also owned by the Teekay-China LNG Shipping venture.

Novatek said last week it is considering conducting ship-to-ship transfers in Norway of its LNG to safeguard its operations although the issue of what the sanctions mean in practice was up to the shipping companies to resolve.

The Arc7 tankers are critical to Yamal’s ability to ship LNG: In winter, they are the only ones able to get to the facility to load cargoes and in the summer, the only ones able to ship cargoes eastwards via the Northern Sea Route, when icebergs melt enough to let them pass.

Yamal began operations in December 2017, contributing to a boom in LNG supplies in the past 18 months. It has exported 13.8 million tonnes of LNG so far this year, half of total U.S. LNG exports in the same period.

 Vessel                         Status               Operator
 Chris. de Margerie             In operation         Sovcomflot
 Boris Vilkitsky                In operation         Dynagas
 Vladimir Rusanov               In operation         MOL
 Fedor Litke                    In operation         Dynagas
 Eduard Toll                    In operation         Teekay
 Rudolf Samoylovich             In operation         Teekay
 Vladimir Vize                  In operation         MOL
 Georgiy Brusilov               In operation         Dynagas
 Boris Davydov                  In operation         Dynagas
 Nikolay Zubov                  In operation         Dynagas
 Nikolay Yevgenov               In operation         Teekay
 Vladimir Voronin               in operation         Teekay
 Nikolay Urvantsev(DSME 2432)   in operation         MOL
 Georgiy Ushakov (DSME 2433)    At Sabetta Port      Teekay
 Yakov Gakkel (DSME 2434)       Sea trials           Teekay

Source: Reuters (Reporting by Sabina Zawadzki, editing by Louise Heavens)

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