Christophe de Margerie, the world’s first ice-breaking LNG tanker, has become the first vessel to dock at Yamal LNG’s terminal at Sabetta Port in Russia.
The LNG carrier sailed through a new route that could open the ice-bound Arctic Ocean to ships carrying LNG and oil.
The vessel was designed to order for Sovcomflot, specifically to serve Novatek’s Yamal LNG project, and transport LNG all year round in the difficult ice conditions of the Ob Bay and Kara Sea.
The ship is named after a former Total chief executive who died at a Moscow airport in 2014.
Christophe de Margerie is the prototype for a series of 15 LNG carriers, which are planned to be constructed for the Yamal project. The appearance of this particular gas carrier signalled the market debut for Yamalmax ships, a new class of vessel.
“During her maiden call at Sabetta Port, the vessel successfully carried out a trial passage through the purpose-built seaway canal, the most difficult part of the Ob Bay in terms of navigation,” SCF said in its statement.
This engineering structure, unique for the Arctic basin, is intended to be operated in difficult conditions of constant ice drift. The canal’s depth is 15 metres, its width is 295 metres, and length is 50 kilometres, the statement reads.
The welcoming ceremony for the ice-breaking LNG carrier was held on Thursday at the Yamal LNG facility with Russian President Vladimir Putin watching via live video-link.
The LNG project in the Yamal peninsula in Siberia will have a total capacity of 16.5 million tonnes of LNG per year.
Russia’s Novatek and France’s Total, along with Chinese partners CNPC and China’s Silk Road Fund, expect the first shipment from the $27 billion Yamal LNG project in October this year.