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Who will ship Yamal LNG?

It is not clear which companies will operate the new Yamalmax LNG tankers.

As Sovcomflot lays down the keel of its new Arctic super-tanker designed for the Yamal LNG, the company’s role in the project is increasingly unclear.

The shipping company, Russia’s biggest, on 23rd March laid down the keel of its first 172,600 cubic meter Yamalmax LNG tanker. The ship, the first of its kind, will be 300 meters long and able to break through 2,1 meter of Arctic ice. It is built by the Korean Daewoo Shipbuilding&Marine Engineering and will be ready for operations in 2016, Sovcomflot informs in a press release.

However, the role of the Russian shipping company in the Yamal LNG project appears increasingly uncertain.  In 2014, the company won a tender on shipments of Yamal LNG, but has since failed to follow up with the ordering of new tankers. According to the orginal plan, a total of five tankers were to be ordered before the end of 2014, Vedomosti reports with reference to Tradewindsnews.com. Reportedly, the Yamal LNG is therefore looking for other partners, among which could be Greek company Dynagas and the Japanese NYK, the newspaper writes.

The unique ships will operate for the Yamal LNG company, the operator of the LNG project in the Yamal Peninsula. Another 15 similar vessels are planned built for the project, which will have an annual production of 16,5 million tons of liquified gas.

With the vessels, project operator Novatek will be able to ship LNG from its Yamal project also eastwards along the Northern Sea Route to Asian markets.

Yamal LNG and its majority owner Novatek has concluded gas delivery contracts with  Delivery contracts have been signed with Total (4 mill ton/year), Gas Natural (2,5 mill ton/year), CNPC (3 mill ton/year), Gazprom (3 mill ton/year) and Novatek Gas& Power (2,86 mill ton/year).