Christophe de Margerie, the world’s first ice-breaking LNG tanker, loaded a cargo at Statoil’s Hammerfest LNG terminal and set course for South Korea via the Northern sea route.
Total, that holds an 18.4 percent stake in the terminal on Thursday said the voyage marks the inauguration of the vessel, making it the “first unescorted merchant vessel ever to take this route, which makes it possible to reach Asia via the Bering Strait in 15 days versus 30 days via the Suez Canal.”
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.
Total holds a 20 percent stake in the Yamal LNG project that will have a 16.5 mtpa production capacity at full build out.
Led by Novatek of Russia, the project has started commissioning activities at the first liquefaction train that is expected to produce about 5.5 million tonnes of the chilled fuel per year.
Production at the facility is planned to start by the end of the year.