First Unescorted LNG Ship Transits Northern Sea Route

Image Courtesy: Total

Christophe de Margerie, the world’s first ice-breaking liquefied natural gas (LNG) tanker, has embarked on a voyage through the Northern Sea Route (NSR) to Boryeong in South Korea where it will deliver a cargo for Total Gas & Power.

The 172,410 cbm Christophe de Margerie is the first unescorted merchant LNG vessel ever to take this route, which makes it possible to reach Asia via the Bering Strait in 15 days versus 30 days via the Suez Canal, French oil and gas company Total explained.

The vessel recently loaded its cargo at the Snøhvit LNG export terminal in Norway, in which Total has an 18.4% interest.

Christophe de Margerie is the first in a series of 15 carriers being constructed for the Yamal LNG project which will be gradually deployed.

Ordered under a USD 320 million shipbuilding deal in 2014, the 299-meter-long vessel was delivered by South Korean shipbuilder DSME to its owner, the Russian shipping company Sovcomflot, in March 2016.

Yamal LNG, a flagship Total project in northern Russia aims at developing the giant onshore South Tambey gas and condensate field with the construction of a liquefaction plant. Ultimately, close to 16.5 million tons of LNG a year will transit through the port of Sabetta, built specifically for the project, according to Total.

The ships will transport large quantities of LNG produced at Yamal LNG year-round, without requiring escort icebreakers during the period from July to November.

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