Monthly Archives: January 2021

The January Voyage of Тwo LNG Carriers in the Eastern Arctic Is a Step Towards Year-Round Safe NSR Navigation

MOSCOW, 22.01.2021. “Rosmorrechflot”

The ice-class LNG carrier ‘Christophe de Margerie’ reached the Dezhnev Cape abeam on January 16, completing the crossing along the Northern Sea Route in an easterly direction. For the first time, the transportation of LNG from the port of Sabetta on Yamal Peninsula to the Asia-Pacific region via the NSR was accomplished in January.

Another LNG carrier sistership performed a similar NSR transit one day later. She used the data provided by ‘Christophe de Margerie’ and the channel she laid in the ice fields. This made it possible to work out the tactics of interaction between two Arctic ice-class gas carriers during independent navigation in heavy ice environment.

The results of the 10-day passage of gas carriers along the route Sabetta – Bering Strait became another step bringing closer the possibility of organizing year-round safe navigation along the entire length of the NSR in the Russian Arctic. In turn, this will contribute to an increase in cargo traffic in the water area of ​​the Northern Sea Route and the progress of its transit potential as a real alternative to traditional transport routes via the Suez Channel.

On January 18, Transport Minister Vitaly Savelyev received a video call from Sergei Genya, the master of the gas carrier, who reported the successful completion of the crossing to Pacific The event was also attended by Sergei Frank, “Sovcomflot” Chairman of the Board of Directors, and Igor Tonkovidov, “Sovcomflot” CEO and Chairman of the Management Board.

The head of the Ministry of Transport congratulated “Sovcomflot” PJSC on the successful completion of the transit and expressed gratitude to the captain and crew of the vessel for fulfilling a responsible task at a high professional level. “Rosmorrechflot” head Alexander Poshivay made a report on the Agency efforts to provide navigation safety in the water area of ​​the Northern Sea Route, including the issuance of permits for navigation in this area by the NSR Administration, taking into account the ice conditions. He noted the 2% growth in the number of permits for the NSR navigation issued in 2020. Recalling the continuation of hydrographic studies on the NSR in accordance with the plan agreed by Rosmorrechflot, he announced the planned growth of survey activities on the Northern Sea Route routes by 2.5 times for 2021, up to 75 thousand kilometers. Also, the operation of six GLONASS control and correction stations and the transmission of information on the safety of navigation to ships will be ensured.

The captains of six seaports located on the NSR continuously exercise state port control and implement a permitting procedure for leaving the ports to prevent ships that do not meet current requirements from entering the Arctic waters, the head of “Rosmorrechflot” noted.

“Reducing the duration of the voyage when using the NSR in comparison with the traditional southern route through the Suez Channel provides not only economic efficiency, but also a significant reduction in the carbon footprint of cargo transportation. The volume of carbon dioxide emissions within the framework of this transit will be 3000 tons or 30% lower compared to similar transportation along the southern route,” commented Mr. Igor Tonkovidov. The use of satellite ice reconnaissance data as well as analytical methods for assessing and forecasting ice conditions, developed by Sovcomflot specialists, made it possible to choose the safest and most cost-effective route for the vessel, he added.

Japan Intends to Actively Participate in NSR Development

January 20, “PortNews”

Japan presented a draft of a new concept of trade and economic cooperation in the Far East and the Arctic

Japan intends to actively participate in the development of the Northern Sea Route (NSR). According to the press service of the Ministry for the Development of the Russian Far East and the Arctic, this topic was discussed during a meeting between Alexei Chekunkov, the Minister, and Toyohisa Kozuki, the Japanese Ambassador in Russia.

According to Amb. Kozuki, the NSR logistics is 40% more efficient than traditional shipping routes. Japanese companies are already transporting LNG along the Northern Sea Route using LNG carriers.

The launch of a regular container line via the NSR is one of the promising areas of Russian-Japanese cooperation in the Arctic.

Let’s add that since 2019 the “Mitsui – Jogmec” consortium has been participating in the ‘Arctic LNG-2’ project for the production of LNG. The planned volume of Japanese investment in the project is $ 3 billion. The start-up of the first line is scheduled for 2023, with a phased commissioning of the facility in 2023-2025.

Japan has developed and presented to Russia a draft of a new concept of trade and economic cooperation in the Far East and the Arctic. It is aimed at enhancing trade and economic cooperation and involves expanding interaction in several directions at once: such as energy, logistics, fish processing industry, port and transport infrastructure, urban environment, tourism.

Comments: Japan has been reluctant to define its Arctic policy for a long time. Earlier, Japanese shipping companies were skeptical about the idea of transporting goods along the NSR. It is possible that the cabinet of the new Prime Minister Suga has revised the overly cautious policy of its predecessor, Shintaro Abe, in relation to economic, transport and logistics cooperation in the Arctic. And this is logical, because the other NEA powers, China and South Korea, have already engaged in a number of serious projects in the Polar Ocean.

A Large Natural Gas Liquefaction Plant and a Sea Terminal Are Planned for Construction in the North of Khabarovsk Territory

January 19, “RZhD Partner”

The project is planned for implementation by the “Yakutsk Fuel and Energy Company” (YaFEC). According to Andrey Korobov, YaFEC Director General, it is planned to build a main gas pipeline with a length of about 1.3 thousand kilometers from Yakutia to the coast of the Sea of ​​Okhotsk in the Khabarovsk Territory, where LNG production  facility will be constructed.

The company holds licenses for the commercial development of the Srednevilyuisky and Mastakhskoye gas condensate fields, the exploration and development of the Tolonsky area. Recently YaFEC won the auction, obtaining the right to produce hydrocarbons in the North, South and Maysky blocks with a total area of ​​43.5 thousand square meters with total reserves of 359 billion cubic meters of gas.

“We must prepare the company for the implementation of the largest LNG project in Russia – ‘Yakutsk LNG’, the implementation format of which directly depends on the YaFEC resource base,” commented A. Korobov.

Currently, the largest LNG production in the Far East region is located on Sakhalin Island. The specialized sea terminal in the village of Prigorodnoye annually ships up to 9.6 million tons of LNG. The planned LNG plant + terminal in Khabarovsk Territory will be capable of shipping up to 18 million tons of LNG annually.


Comments: This ambitious project is risky, challenging and costly, but if it is accomplished the deserted areas of the Far East of Russia will get a powerful boost in its economic and social development. Diversification of LNG supply options located close to potential regional consumers is definitely attractive for all project participants.

‘North Pole” Ice-Resistant Self-Propelled Platform Launched

December 29, 2020

On December 18, the “Admiralty Shipyards” in St.Petersburg launched an ice-resistant self-propelled marine platform (LSP) ‘North Pole’ of project 00903, ordered by the Federal Service for Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring (RosHydroMet).

The contract between JSC ”Admiralty Shipyards” and RosHydroMet was signed in April 2018. The keel was laid down on April 10, 2019. The construction of the vessel is being carried out within the framework of the federal program for the socio-economic development of the Arctic region of the Russian Federation.

LSP ‘North Pole’ has the functionality of a research center and is designed for year-round expeditions in the high latitudes of the Arctic Ocean. The vessel is designed to conduct geological, acoustic, geophysical and oceanographic research; it is capable of passing through ice without icebreaker support, as well as operating heavy helicopters such as MI-8 AMT (Mi-17). The LSP will provide comfortable and safe working and living conditions for the crew (14 people) and scientific personnel (34) at the polar station at temperatures down to -50o and humidity 85%.

The main operational and technical characteristics of the LSP: length – 83.1 m; width – 22.5 m; displacement – about 10,390 tons; power plant – 4200 kW; speed – at least 10 knots; hull strength – Arc8; autonomy in terms of fuel reserves – about 2 years; service life – at least 25 years.. The ‘North Pole’ ice-resistant self-propelled marine platform is classified as KM (*) Arc5 [1] AUT1-C HELIDECK-F Special purpose ship by.Russian Maritime Register of Shipping:

“Admiralty Shipyards” have extensive experience in building ice-class ships. In 1959, the shipyard built the world’s first nuclear icebreaker ‘Lenin’; in 1979 the research vessel ‘Otto Schmidt’. Since the early 2000s the shipyard constructed  a series of five ice-going tankers with a deadweight of 20,000 tons; Arctic tankers ‘Mikhail Ulyanov’ and ‘Kirill Lavrov’ with deadweight of 70,000 tons; scientific expeditionary vessel ‘Akademik Tryoshnikov’.