SMART LNG, a joint venture of Russia’s majors Sovcomflot and Novatek, signed an agreement with compatriot development corporation VEB.RF Group for lease financing of four Arc7 icebreaking LNG carriers intended for the Arctic LNG 2 project.
In addition, SMART LNG signed long-term time charter agreements for these tankers with Arctic LNG 2 LLC, a Russian based limited company focusing on the Arctic LNG 2 Project, the second large onshore conventional natural gas project led by gas major Novatek on the Gydan Peninsula.
The four vessels will be constructed at Zvezda Shipbuilding Complex in the Russian Far East and the construction process will be supervised by the Russian Maritime Register of Shipping (RS). Once completed, the ships will sail under the Russian flag.
The Russian shipping company SCF said that the design of the series draws upon the experience of operating Christophe de Margerie, the world’s first icebreaking LNG carrier, introduced in 2017.
As explained, the insight from operating Christophe de Margerie led to the integration of various advanced engineering solutions into the design.
“These will provide the new ships with higher icebreaking capabilities and maneuverability, when operating in the challenging conditions across both the Western and the Eastern sectors of the Russian Arctic, compared with Arc7 gas carriers serving the Yamal LNG project,” SCF added.
The deal comes on the heels of financing and long-term time charter agreements for the lead vessel in this series signed by SCF back in October 2019.
Sovcomflot and Novatek agreed to establish SMART LNG LLC in September 2019, its aim being to own and operate a fleet of LNG carriers serving the Arctic LNG 2 projects, as well as other current and prospective Novatek projects.