Russian gas company Novatek said that planned 2019 volumes of LNG delivered eastbound to the Asian Pacific markets via the Northern Sea Route will be increased by more than 4 times compared to last year.
During the third quarter of the year, 15 LNG cargoes from the company’s Yamal LNG project were shipped eastbound to the Asian Pacific markets directly via the NSR. The eastbound shipments represented about 25% of all LNG dispatched from Yamal LNG during the three-month period.
“A current fleet of 13 Arc7 ice-class tankers along with lower ice-class designated tankers to transport LNG cargoes support the Yamal LNG project. The full compliment of 15 Arc7 ice-class tankers are expected to be in operation by end of 2019, which will increase the number of direct LNG deliveries eastbound via the NSR,” Novatek explained.
“The increase of LNG delivered eastbound via the NSR confirms the commercial priority of the Asia-Pacific region as a strategic direction for future deliveries of Novatek’s LNG,” Lev Feodosyev, NOVATEK’s First Deputy Chairman of the Management Board, noted.
“Developing further the navigational efficiency via the NSR combined with the construction of LNG transshipment complexes in Kamchatka and Murmansk will optimize the company’s logistics chain.”
The update comes on the back of the sanctions imposed by the U.S. in late September against two COSCO companies, COSCO Shipping Tanker (Dalian) Co. and COSCO Shipping Tanker (Dalian) Seaman & Ship Management Co., for allegedly transporting Iranian crude.
Subsequently, Teekay LNG’s tanker venture, the Yamal LNG Joint Venture, has qualified as a “blocked person” under the U.S. sanctions, as COSCO Dalian is a direct 50% shareholder of China LNG Shipping (Holding) Limited (CLNG), which in turn holds a 50% stake in Yamal LNG Joint Venture.
As a result of CLNG’s 50% interest, the Yamal LNG Joint Venture also currently qualifies as a “blocked person” under OFAC rules.
Novatek earlier explained that these specific LNG shipments are not related to the sanctions imposed on the COSCO companies, adding that the issue to resolve this situation “is a business relations matter between Teekay LNG and China LNG Shipping (Holdings) Limited.”