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Top brass turn out for SCF naming

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Tradewinds

Russian president Vladimir Putin among those at christening of owner's pioneering LNGC

Russian president Vladimir Putin was part of a big-name line-up that attended the christening of SCF Group (Sovcomflot)’s pioneering ice-breaking LNG carrier in St Petersburg on Saturday.

The 172,600-cbm newbuilding Christophe de Margerie was the centrepiece of the three-day 21st St Petersburg International Economic Forum, which kicked off on Thursday.

The Arc7 LNG carrier is expected to lift the first cargo from Russia’s 16.5m tonnes per annum Yamal LNG project in September-October.

Another 14 specialised sisterships are due to deliver to the three-train liquefaction project in the period through to 2019.

The ship was named after Christophe de Margerie, the former CEO of Total, who played a key role in investment decisions and a developing a technological basis for the Yamal project, SCF said.

The vessel’s godmother was Valentina Matvienko, chair of the Russian Federation Council.

She said: “I name this vessel Christophe de Margerie and wish her, her crew and all Sovcomflot seafarers success and accident-free operations. Seven feet under the keel!”

Guests included family members of Christophe de Margerie: his widow Bernadette de Margerie; his brother Jean-Marc de Margerie, and others. The event was also attended by Russian minister of transport Maxim Sokolov, economic development minister Maxim Oreshkin; St Petersburg governor Georgy Poltavchenko and Total president Patrick Pouyanne, as well as SCF CEO Sergey Frank.

Putin told the gathering: “I am extremely glad to welcome you at today’s solemn ceremony dedicated to the naming of Sovcomflot’s new Arctic LNG carrier. After successfully going through ice testing in March, the tanker has made her first call at the Russian port of Sabetta in the North.

"From now on, this modern vessel will bear the name of Christophe de Margerie, a French entrepreneur and a real, big friend of our country of Russia.

“He possessed a unique strategic vision and did so much to strengthen friendly, partnership relations with Russia, while being the driving force behind the implementation of a range of large joint energy projects.

"Naming the ship in his honour serves as another symbol of our sincere and kind disposition to this outstanding man, and as a commemoration of his memory.”