LNG drives Northern Sea Route H1 transits up 1.1pc to 14.5 million tonnes

SHIPMENTS on the Northern Sea Route increased 1

13 July 2020 - 19:00

SHIPMENTS on the Northern Sea Route increased 1.1 per cent year on year to 14.5 million tonnes in the first half, despite a global pandemic and world economic meltdown, according to Russia's sea and river agency Rosmorrechflot.

LNG shipments from Sabetta constitute a lion's share of the goods, and since May, a significant volume of those have been shipped eastwards to Asian markets, reports Norway's Independent Barents Observer.

In one eastbound voyage, the LNG tanker Christophe de Margerie set out from Sabetta May 19 and arrived on June 9 in the Chinese port of Jiangsu. It was the earliest eastbound shipment on the route ever for this kind of vessel.

The Christophe de Margerie was followed by the Vladimir Voronin, another natural gas carrier that sailed across parts of the route without icebreaker escort. In late June, the Georgiy Ushakov and Vladimir Rusanov also transited the Arctic route.

Westbound on June 26, the Christophe de Margerie again went to sea, this time with westbound course for the Russian Arctic.

The carrier departed from the Chinese port of Yangkou and is estimated to reach Russian Arctic LNG terminal of Sabetta by July 13, data from ship tracking service MarineTraffic shows. On July 7, the ship was sailing in the East Siberian Sea with a course north of the New Siberian Islands.

On its westbound voyage, the Christophe de Margerie encountered the Georgiy Brusilov that is currently on its way an eastbound voyage from Sabetta to Taiwan. The vessel was escorted by nuclear icebreaker Yamal.

All the vessels are part of a fleet of 15 Arc7 ice-class ships that shuttle to and from Sabetta for company Novatek and its Yamal LNG partners. The 299-metre-long vessels can take onboard up to 172,600 cubic metres natural gas.

Sea ice along the Northern Sea Route has shrunk over a number of years and in September 2019 the ice extent was at its second smallest level ever, said the report. The first half of 2020 was the warmest in Russia's 130 years of temperature measuring.

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