Natural gas tankers jam on Norwegian Arctic coast
These are busy days in the waters of Honningsvåg and Hammerfest, two towns located along the coast of the Barents Sea.
On Wednesday, six tankers were engaged in ship-to-ship reloading of LNG in the Sarnes Fjord by Honningsvåg. It is the biggest operation of its kind conducted in the area since local ship-to-ship operations started in late November 2018.
Involved were ice-class carriers «Vladimir Rusanov», «Christophe de Margerie» and «Georgy Brusilov» all of them delivering natural gas from Russia’s Yamal Peninsula. They were reloading to the «Flex Endeavor», «Patris» and «BW Tulip», information from ship tracking service MarineTraffic shows.
The reloading activities are part of a deal between Russian natural gas company Novatek and Tschudi Group, a Norwegian logistics company. Ice-class tankers shuttle to Honningsvåg where they reload to conventional tankers that subsequently deliver the shiploads in Rotterdam and other port terminals.
The six tankers in Honningsvåg were not alone. In the nearby waters in the Barents Sea were another four tankers waiting for their turn to reload. In addition, an 11th carrier was about to leave Norwegian waters on its way back to Sabetta, the Russian terminal in Yamal.
The volumes of liquified natural gas now reloaded in Honningsvåg are significant. The agreement between Novatek and Tschudi includes 158 ship-to-ship operations by June this year. That means a total of 316 tankers and several million tons of LNG.
The Yamal LNG project in late 2018 launched its third production train and consequently reached an annual production capacity of 16,5 million tons, a lion’s share of which will be reloaded in Honningsvåg.
The volumes now sent to Sarnes Fjord by far exceed the production at Equinor’s Melkøya plant in Hammerfest. There, three carriers on Wednesday engaged in loading of LNG at Melkøya. The «Arctic Lady», «Arctic Voyager» and «Stena Blue Sky» were heading to terminals in France, Poland and the Netherlands.
Production at Melkøya in 2018 amounted to about 4,5 million tons.