On 15 June a keel-laying ceremony was held at Zvezda Shipbuilding Complex, in Russia’s Far East, for a new Arctic LNG carrier ordered by PAO Sovcomflot (SCF Group).
This is the lead vessel in a series of 15 carriers, ordered from Zvezda, for servicing the Arctic LNG 2 project. She is also the first-ever vessel of such dimensions, cargo capacity and icebreaking capabilities to be constructed at a Russian shipyard.
This lead vessel of the series will be owned by SCF, while the remaining 14 ships are owned by SMART LNG, a joint venture between Sovcomflot and NOVATEK.
All vessels in the series will operate under long-term time-charter contracts with Arctic LNG 2. Their construction is being financed by VEB.RF and all will operate under the Russian flag. The shipbuilding process is being supervised by the Russian Maritime Register of Shipping (RS) and Bureau Veritas (BV) with all 15 vessels scheduled for delivery in 2023-2025.
This series of ice-class Arc7 vessels is designed for the year-round transportation of LNG in the challenging conditions along the Northern Sea Route, including its eastern sector. Importantly, these vessels will have increased icebreaking capabilities and manoeuvrability in the ice, when compared to the first generation of icebreaking LNG carriers (Christophe de Margerie series).
The ships will be 300m long, 48.8m wide and will have a cargo capacity of 172,600m3. The propulsion system includes three azimuth propulsion units, with a total power capacity of 45MW.
Currently, SCF has 20 large-capacity tankers ordered from Zvezda, with a total deadweight of 1.86 million tonnes and a total cost of over $5Bn. These include 15 icebreaking LNG carriers and five LNG-fuelled tankers of various sizes, for transporting crude oil and petroleum products.
The localisation of advanced civil shipbuilding technologies within Russia has resulted from mutually beneficial cooperation between SCF and Russian energy companies, which allows for the scaling up SCF’s competencies in adopting innovative solutions.