On 20 November 2020, a steel cutting ceremony took place for the first in a new series of 15 icebreaking LNG carriers, ordered by SCF Group from Zvezda Shipbuilding Complex (Primorsky Region, Russia), to serve the Arctic LNG 2 project.
Participants in the ceremony included: Yury Borisov, Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation; Leonid Mikhelson, Chairman of the Management Board of NOVATEK; Igor Tonkovidov, President and CEO of Sovcomflot; Sergey Tseluyko, Managing Director of Zvezda Shipbuilding Complex and Daniil Algulyan, Deputy Chairman of VEB.RF.
Shipbuilding, financing, lease, and time charter contracts were signed by SCF Group, NOVATEK Group, Zvezda and VEB.RF Group in 2019. The vessel is scheduled for delivery in Q1 2023.
The steel cutting for the lead vessel heralds the building of a new generation of icebreaking LNG carriers. The design of these new vessels incorporates the many years of experience Sovcomflot has acquired in operating large vessels within challenging ice conditions. The engineering solutions selected for this class of vessel will enable increased speed and manoeuvrability when sailing in ice conditions, compared with icebreaking LNG carriers of the previous generation. This will, for the first time, allow year-round navigation in the eastern sector of the Russian Arctic, thereby expediting the implementation of national plans to boost cargo traffic along the Northern Sea Route. All the vessels in the series will be assigned an Arc7 ice class.
In total, SCF Group has been involved with the ordering of 15 vessels in this series from Zvezda: the lead LNG carrier vessel was ordered directly by SCF, while the other 14 vessels were ordered by SMART LNG, a joint venture of Sovcomflot and NOVATEK. The shipbuilding process is being supervised by the Russian Maritime Register of Shipping.
During the ceremony, Yury Borisov, Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, said, “The steel cutting is an important milestone, signifying not only progress with the construction of the first vessel but also of the whole series. This work was preceded by a tremendous effort both in terms of organisation and production preparations. These vessels will significantly contribute to the development of cargo traffic along the Northern Sea Route, which is strategically important for Russia. Each vessel will have capacity of more than 172,000 cubic metres. The vessels’ dimensions are remarkable, 300 metres long and over 48 metres wide. Their power capacity is 45 MW, with each vessel equipped with three unique azimuth propulsion units.”
Igor Tonkovidov, the President and CEO of Sovcomflot noted, “The start of construction of the first in this new generation of LNG carriers by Zevzda is a significant milestone for the Russian shipbuilding industry, which has never before constructed vessels with this level of engineering complexity. We are proud that the cooperation between Sovcomflot, NOVATEK, VEB.RF Group and Zvezda Shipbuilding Complex is helping to localise new civilian shipbuilding technologies in Russia and the mass-production of large-capacity vessels. We are looking forward to continuing our close collaboration and are ready to further support the Russian civilian shipbuilding industry as part of the implementation of major energy projects. All the 15 new LNG carriers will be registered under the Russian flag and will be operated by Russian crews.”