On October 27th, the LNG tanker Ob River arrived at the Montoir-de-Bretagne LNG terminal operated by Elengy, a GDF SUEZ subsidiary. The vessel, coming from the Pacific Ocean, is the first LNG carrier to transit the Northern Sea Route.
The vessel called at Montoir LNG terminal, located in the Nantes Saint-Nazaire harbor, for a cool-down operation which is a technical process aiming at loading into her tanks small quantities of LNG (heel supplement).
The Northern Sea Route, or North-East passage, is a shipping lane from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean along the North coast of Siberia, most of the route being in Arctic waters. Navigation fairways are opened by icebreakers in order to extend the navigation period. This strategic route cuts the maritime distance from Northern Europe to Northeast Asia and North America by up to 40 % compared to southern sea routes via the Suez or Panama canals.
Receiving at Montoir-de-Bretagne this kind of vessels from the Arctic waters opens new perspectives for the terminal, where LNG cargoes from Hammerfest in Norway, the northernmost city in the world, have already been unloaded.
elengy, October 31, 2012; Image: Gazprom