Illustration photo by TSS

Arctic LNG tanker sails to Kola Peninsula to test new reloading point

Natural gas company Novatek planned to start up ship-to-ship reloading of liquified natural gas by the Kildin island in late 2019. More than half a year later, a tanker for the first time tests moorage facilities on site.
August 05, 2020

The carrier that this week sailed into the narrow strait that separates the Kildin island and the Kola Peninsula underwent a series of test operations aimed at making the reloading point ready for operations.

Included in the operation were icebreaker “Ob” and tug “Yuribey”, shipowner Rosatomflot informs.

“The operation went excellently,” says first deputy general director Leonid Irlitsa. It included mooring and detachment of the ship, as well as opening of a temporary customs point and testing of emergency procedures.

The purpose of the operation was to test preparedness of the local facilities, the company informs.

The reloading facility includes two moorage points for Yamal LNG carriers.

It is not clear which exactly tanker that took part in the operation. There are today a total of 15 carriers that shuttle to peninsula Yamal for transportation of LNG. They mostly sail towards western markets, but since May this year  a number of tankers have sailed also eastwards on the Northern Sea Route towards markets in Asia.

With this week’s testing, Novatek is likely to have made an important step towards start-up of actual transshipment operations on site.

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

Novatek in 2019 engaged in LNG transshipment in waters near the Norwegian town of Honningsvåg. At most, up to six large carriers were simultaneously involved in transshipment operations in the Sarnes Fjord near Honningsvåg.

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

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 in the area. The deal allows for the natural gas company to build the LNG terminal on site by year 2023

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