Carrier Christophe de Margerie in August tested mooring facilities by the island of Kildin. In the last week of November, transshipment operations were launched on site. Photo: Rosmorport

Transshipment of LNG starts on harsh and windy Kola coast

Support ships jam by the island of Kildin as the first tankers sail towards Novatek's new hub for reloading of liquified natural gas.
November 24, 2020

Preparations have been underway for months and the Russian natural gas company is believed to have struggled to get everything in place.

LNG carrier Nikolay Yevgenov and support ships by island of Kildin.

LNG carrier Nikolay Yevgenov is now located in the narrow strait between the Kildin island and the Kola coast. It is surrounded by ten tugs and support ships. It is not clear which other LNG tanker that will be involved in the operation.

The 299 meter long Nikolay Yevgenov carries up to 172,600 cubic tons of liquified natural gas that will be reload into a conventional carrier. The latter will bring the LNG to a European terminal.

Novatek originally planned to start up ship-to-ship reloading by Kildin already late 2019. But various technical challenges are believed to have delayed operations.

The harsh climate and weather conditions around Kildin could be one of those key issues. The island is located in unprotected waters north of the Kola Peninsula. It is a heavily militarized area controlled by the Northern Fleet.

Two dredgers were engaged in the waters near Kildin for several weeks in October and November 2020. 

Over the last weeks, there has been several dredgers in the area to prepare the ground for operations. In early August, did carrier Christophe de Margerie conduct testing of mooring facilities on site.

The transshipment includes technically complex operations with manual work by personnel.

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Previously, Novatek conducted similar transshipments in the Sarnes Fjord near the Norwegian port of Honningsvåg. But the company in early 2019 announced that operations would be moved to Russia.

In spring 2019, up to six large carriers were simultaneously involved in transshipment operations in the Sarnes Fjord.

Also for a short period in March-April 2020 did carriers reload LNG on site.

The transshipment facility in Kildin will operate only temporarily until a permanent base is built in the Ura Bay, near naval base of Vidyaevo.

The projected terminal in Vidyaevo is to be able to handle up to 20 million tons of LNG per year.

Regional authorities in Murmansk in late March formally approved Novatek’s acquisition of land near a local Northern Fleet base. The deal allows for the natural gas company to build the LNG terminal on site by year 2023

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