Early eastbound Northern Sea Route transit delivers LNG to China over a third faster

On 9 June 2020 at 06:00 Moscow time Christophe de Margerie, an icebreaking LNG carrier owned and operated by SCF Group, successfully completed a commercial voyage delivering a cargo of LNG, for the Yamal LNG project, from the Port of Sabetta (Russia) to the Port of Jiangsu (China).

The voyage saw Christophe de Margerie become the first large-capacity cargo vessel to complete an early eastbound transit of the Northern Sea Route (NSR), in May. Ice conditions along the eastern sector of the NSR remain challenging at this time, with navigation usually commencing only in July.

The voyage from Sabetta to Jiangsu took 21 days to complete, during which the LNGC covered 6,047 nautical miles at an average speed of 11.7 knots.

Delivering a similar cargo of LNG from Yamal to China via the Suez Canal would take an average of 34 days. Thus, the NSR transit enabled cutting the voyage time by over a third.

The transit has provided extensive information about the ice conditions along the eastern part of the NSR, which will prove valuable when planning transportation solutions for future industrial projects in the Arctic and designing future generations of Arctic vessels, both icebreakers and cargo ships of high ice class.

Notes for Editors

In 2010-2011, SCF Group together with NOVATEK completed several experimental transit voyages along the NSR, proving the technical and economic feasibility of using this route as a transport corridor for large-scale cargo ships. These high-latitude voyages have laid the foundations for the successful implementation of the Yamal LNG project, and opened a new deep-water route to the north of the New Siberian Islands archipelago for commercial shipping.

In 2017, SCF Group introduced Christophe de Margerie, the world’s first icebreaking LNG carrier, the lead ship in the series of ice class Arc7 vessels, with a cargo capacity of 172,600 cbm each, purpose designed for serving the Yamal LNG project in the Russian Arctic all year round. The vessel has excellent icebreaking and manoeuvering capabilities, as well as a high power capacity, which allows her to safely operate in the extreme climatic and ice conditions of high latitudes.

In December 2017, Christophe de Margerie transported the first cargo of LNG produced by the Yamal LNG plant. The same year, Christophe de Margerie was named ‘Engineering Project of the Year’ at the 2017 S&P Global Platts Global Energy Awards.

For Christophe de Margerie, the current voyage became the 45th since the start of Yamal LNG’s operations.

SCF Press Office

Sovcomflot (SCF Group) is one of the world's leading energy shipping companies, specialising in the transportation of crude oil, petroleum products, and liquefied gas, as well as the servicing of offshore oil and gas production. The Group’s fleet includes 146 vessels with a total deadweight of 12.6 million tonnes. More than 80 vessels have an ice class.

Sovcomflot is involved in servicing large oil and gas projects in Russia and around the world: Sakhalin-1; Sakhalin-2; Varandey; Prirazlomnoye; Novy Port; Yamal LNG, and Tangguh (Indonesia). The Company is headquartered in St. Petersburg, with offices in Moscow, Novorossiysk, Murmansk, Vladivostok, Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, London, Limassol, and Dubai.