August 19, 2023 [Argus]- The 174,000m³ Velikiy Novgorod was sailing north towards the Barents Sea today, after having loaded a cargo from Russian state-controlled Gazprom’s 1.5mn t/yr Portovaya LNG plant in the Gulf of Finland.
The cargo today had a declared destination of “Barents for orders” with an arrival date of 12 September. This is the first cargo from the terminal that has headed north in the North Sea. Since the start of operations in September last year, the terminal has exported only to Russia’s Kaliningrad exclave, Greece and Turkey, according to ship-tracking data from oil analytics firm Vortexa.
There are no LNG import terminals on the route to the Barents Sea, although there is the Novatek-operated 21.7mn t/yr Murmansk transshipment hub, which has yet to receive a cargo to its floating storage unit. The floating storage unit is linked to Novatek’s 19.8mn t/yr Arctic LNG project, which is set to start operations at its first train this year. A same-sized transshipment hub in Kamchatka on Russia’s eastern coast also has yet to receive a cargo.
The vessel could also be travelling through the Northern Sea Route (NSR) to deliver its cargo to Asia. The declared arrival date of 12 September would be ample to reach northeast Asia if it travelled through the NSR. Deliveries by some carriers to northeast Asia from Russia’s 17.4mn t/yr Yamal export terminal through the NSR so far this year have taken fewer than 20 days.
This would be the first LNG cargo not loaded from Russia’s 17.4mn t/yr Yamal export terminal to sail through the passage.
And with the Velikiy Novgorod‘sice classification of Ice 2, a transit would be a rare NSR voyage by a LNG carrier with such an ice classification, as nearly all NSR voyages by LNG carriers have been undertaken by carriers with ice classifications of at least Arc4 but usually Arc7.
Lower ice-class vessels than Arc7 are already transiting the NSR this year, with the 162,000m³ Clean Ocean at present travelling on the NSR close behind the Arc7 172,600m³ Yakov Gakkel, which may be aiding the Clean Ocean’s transit.
12,600 tank storage and production facilities as per the date of this article. Click on the button and register to get instant access to actionable tank storage industry data