London - A new Arc7 class ice-breaking liquefied natural gas (LNG) tanker, the Nikolay Urvantsev, is undergoing sea trials, Refinitiv data shows, becoming the 13th vessel to join a fleet servicing Novatek’s Yamal plant.
The vessel, previously known only as DMSE 2432, is owned by Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) and was built at the Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME) Okpo shipyard in South Korea. It is currently in the Korea Strait. Another Arc7 tanker, the Vladimir Voronin, is also undergoing sea trials.
The Nikolay Yevgenov, meanwhile, which underwent sea trials in April, delivered its first cargo last week. The Yakov Gakkel, which had been due to begin operation next year, is in wet dock at Okpo, indicating that it will begin sea trials soon. The tankers are part of a 15-strong fleet ordered by LNG tanker companies for the Yamal LNG production facility, which began operations in December 2017 and has contributed to a boom in LNG supplies over the past 18 months.
Yamal is dependent on the ice-breaker tankers to ship LNG out of the Arctic waters. Novatek had asked DSME to speed up construction and delivery of the tankers after production at the LNG plant ramped up faster than expected. The tankers have largely conducted ship-to-ship LNG transfers to conventional carriers, but during summer months they can traverse the Northern Sea Route eastwards to China. All but one of the tankers are named after Russian arctic explorers and scientists. The first Arc7 tanker, the Christophe De Margerie, is named after the former chief of Yamal’s partner, Total, who died in an air crash in Russia in 2014.