June 30, 2023 [High North News]- Novatek’s first floating transfer hub for liquefied natural gas (LNG), Saam FSU, has arrived in the narrow inlet of Ura Guba in the Russian Arctic after a four-months journey under tow from Okpo, South Korea. The barge will optimize the export of Russian LNG to Europe. The company ordered the $748m barge three years ago from South Korean shipyard DSME.
A second barge, Koryak FSU, will take up position off the coast of Kamchatka in the Far East later this year. The barges are more than twice the size of the large Arc7 LNG tankers, allowing it to temporarily store the LNG before it is reloaded onto non-ice capable gas carriers.
The goal of this logistics network is to shorten the distance that specialized ice-capable LNG carriers need to travel. Instead of delivering their cargo all the way to Europe or Asia, the vessels will now be able to turn around just outside ice-covered waters near Murmansk and Kamchatka.
This process allows for significant time savings. Currently Arc7 carriers have to travel between 2,500-3,200 nautical miles from Sabetta to ports in Europe – a voyage that takes around 16-24 days roundtrip. With the FSU in place the distance is shortened to around 1000 miles, taking just 6 days round trip.
Once the second FSU is in place the company will be able to realize similar efficiencies in an easterly direction. Voyages from the Yamal LNG plant to Asia currently take around 5-6 weeks round trip along 6,000 miles. The distance will be cut to around 3,700 miles taking approximately 3 weeks.
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