Yamal LNG ahead of schedule

The Sabetta port will become one the biggest in the Arctic. Illustration: Novatek project presentation

Novatek and partner Total are reported to speed up the development of the Yamal LNG, the project which ultimately will boost shipping manifold along the Northern Sea Route.


According to regional authorities, the Yamal LNG company is ahead of schedule in its development of the huge Arctic project. The company in 2012 removed 1,5 million cubic meters of sea bottom from the waters of the projected Sabetta sea port, which is 50 percent more than origianally planned. In 2013, the company will remove another 10 million cubic meters of sea bottom, the Yamal-Nenets government website informs.

Located along the Ob Bay, on the eastern shore of the Yamal Peninsul, the Sabetta port is a key component of the Yamal LNG project. When completed, reportedly in 2016, the port will handle specially designed Arctic LNG carriers shipping liquefied gas from the field to European, South American and Asian markets.

Boost for Northern Sea Route
According to Sergei Khrushyov, Financial Director of the operator company, the project will alone boost Russia’s production of LNG from 11 to 27,5 million tons and increase shipping along the Northern Sea Route manifold to an estimated 20 million tons per year, Sever-Press reports.

As previously reported, the Sabetta port will be able to handle more than 30 million tons of goods per year. It will be linked with the South Tambey field and the major projected LNG plant. The new port is planned to be operational all-year-round, despite the highly complex ice conditions of the Ob Bay.

In a first phase, the port will by summer 2014 be developed to handle the deliveries of modules to the LNG plant. In the second phase, the port will be developed as a terminal handing LNG tankers.

Environmental concern
The development of the Sabetta port is warmly welcomed by regional authorities. However, at the same time, the project does also cause concern about the major environmental consequences for the local vulnerable ecosystems. In a recent meeting, the operator company agreed to pay regional authorities as much as 526 million RUB (€13 million) as compensation for the environmental damage inflicted. Among the objects, which will disturb local environment is the 50 km long channel connecting the port with the Ob Bay.

According to the company, all the removed parts of the sea bottom will be put back into other parts of the Ob Bay. In addition, the estimated 53 thousand tons of waste material, which is expected to be generated in the project period, will be transported all the way to Yekaterinburg and Tyumen for special treatment, reports.

The Yamal LNG project is developed by a joint venture of Novatek (80%) and Total (20%), and in close cooperation with the Federal Agency of Sea and River Transport and the Rosmorport state enterprise. The Russian government is reportedly investing 47.2 billion RUB (€1.15 billion) in the port and adjacent infrastructure, while private investments in the infrastructure facilities amount to 25.9 billion RUB (€640 million).