LNG tanker ‘Ob River’ chartered by Gazprom Marketing & Trading group and operated by Dynagas (Greece) will carry out the world’s first LNG vessel passage through the Northern Sea Route (NSR) this month.
‘Ob River’ discharged her LNG cargo in Japan and replenished bunkers and provisions in South Korea last week, after which she started the ballasting voyage to Western Europe via NSR. The vessel is scheduled to pass Cape Dezhnev, mainland Russia’s easternmost point, and enter the Chukchi Sea for a rendezvous with the Russian nuclear icebreaker ’50 let Pobedy’ around 9th October.
‘Ob River’ was built in 2007 with 1A ice class notation (Lloyd’s Register) and extensive winterisation equipment. The vessel and her crew successfully performed in ice conditions in 2009 – 2011 when chartered by Gazprom Marketing & Trading group for winter operations to export LNG from “Sakhalin-2”, the first Russian LNG project where OAO Gazprom is the majority shareholder. The vessel has an international crew on board, including Russian officers – graduates of the Admiral Makarov State Maritime Academy in St. Petersburg, the Russia’s leading maritime education and training centre.
Nikolai Grigoriev, Director of Global Shipping & Logistics, Gazprom Marketing & Trading said: “We have been working together with our shipowner partners to operate LNG vessels safely in the ice/cold environment of the “Sakhalin-2” project since 2009 in order to prepare for possible LNG shipments through the Russian Arctic. One of our goals for this trial voyage of ‘Ob River’ is to collect data and verify the technical and commercial viability of NSR for the international LNG trade. The results of this voyage will be very important for the whole LNG industry and the future development of NSR, therefore we are very proud to be leading this strategic initiative”.
Tony Lauritzen, Commercial Director, Dynagas said: “Our organisation has been diligently preparing for sailing the Northern Sea Route with LNG carriers for a long period of time and we are enthusiastic that we now have found an opportunity to materialise such a voyage. We are delighted that the first voyage will be completed jointly with Gazprom Marketing & Trading, a company that has shown significant will to support such a project.”
LNG World News Staff, October 03, 2012; Image: Gazprom M&T