LNG terminal of Sabetta. Illustration photo: Rosmorport.ru

As Japan’s first icebreaking LNG carrier gets ready for sailing, company Mitsui signs cooperation deal on Northern Sea Route

We expect a significant trade growth in energy delivered through the Arctic shipping route, the Japanese shipping company says.
March 02, 2018

«With the reduction of ice in the Arctic and the design of new ice-breaking commercial vessels, the transportation of Arctic natural energy resources has become commercially viable,» the Japanese company says as it this week signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Russian Far East Investment and Export Agency (FEIA).

Mitsui (MOL) is from before a key partner for Russian industrial developments in the region. Russia’s natural gas company Novatek leans on Mitsui and several other foreign companies in out-shipment of liquified gas from the Yamal LNG.

The MOU is aimed at cooperate over the development of the Northern Sea Route and the Russian Far East, a press release reads. The Japanese company is also a stakeholder in the planned building of an LNG transshipment terminal and marketing complex in the Kamchatka area.

The agreement comes as Mitsui is about to get its first icebreaking LNG tanker into operation.

The “Vladimir Rusanov» was jointly ordered by Mitsui and the China COSCO Shipping Corporation Limited, and is the first of three new vessels for MOL and China COSCO Shipping’s fleets in the Yamal LNG Project. It is slated to go into service at the end of March 2018, following delivery at the end of December and ice trials in Arctic waters, the company informed late 2017.

The ships are part of a fleet of 16 vessels built for Novatek’s Yamal project. The first of the vessels, the «Christophe de Margerie» is owned by Russian company Sovcomflot and entered service in Arctic waters early fall 2017. Late fall, three more carriers followed; the «Boris Vilkitsky», «Fedor Litke» and «Eduard Toll».