Illustration photo: Novatek

Arctic developers present new LNG carrier for year-round shipments on Northern Sea Route

A completely new icebreaking hull form will enable the ships to traverse the most icy parts of the shipping route all through the year.
October 29, 2020

These will be the first ships ever designed for NSR year-around shipping, says General Director of Aker Arctic Reko-Antti Suojanen.

The Finnish design and engineering company this week announced that it has developed a new state-of-the-art icebreaking LNG carrier that will be able to operate along Russia’s Northern Sea Route even in the most icy parts of the year.

The ships will have a completely new icebreaking hull form, the company says. It is developed in cooperation with the Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) and Novatek.

The Korean yard has already signed contracts with shipping companies Sovcomflot and Mitsui O.S.K. Lines on the construction of six Arc7 LNG carriers based on the new design.

Three of the six new vessels will be operated by Sovcomflot. According to the Russian company, the ships “will each feature a propulsion system comprising three Azipod units with a total capacity of 51 MW, which is comparable to that of 50 Let Pobedy, a nuclear-powered icebreaker (55 MW), and is almost 60 per cent higher than that of Lenin, the world’s first nuclear-powered icebreaker (32.4 MW).”

The new propulsion system is expected to provide new vessels with increased speed and manoeuvrability when sailing in ice conditions, compared with icebreaking LNG carriers of the previous generation, the company informs.

According to Aker Arctic, the new ship design is tailored for Novatek’s grand new Arctic LNG 2, the natural gas project that is to deliver 14,7 million tons of LNG by year 2024. Shortly later, the project is due to increase production to 19,8 million tons per year.

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The six carriers with the new Arc7 design are not included in the fleet of carriers currently built by new yard Zvezda for Novatek. Company Smart LNG, a joint venture of shipper Sovcomflot and natural gas company Novatek, on the 7th September signed contracts with financial institution VEB.RF and Zvezda Shipbuilding on the construction and lease of 10 carriers.

According to Reko-Antti Suojanen, the Aker Arctic vessels will have a different design and will be more ice capable. They will consequently have an improved logistic scheme of transporting LNG from the Arctic LNG2, he explains to the Barents Observer.

“They use our Double Acting Ship technology for icebreaking and are the first ships ever that are designed for NSR year-around shipping,” he underlines.

Aker Arctic is closely involved in developing new ships for the quickly expanding Arctic shipping fleets. The 15 carriers that now shuttle to and from remote Arctic LNG terminal Sabetta are all tailored by the Finnish designers.

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