To Yamal with world’s most powerful LNG carriers

The Yamal LNG carriers will be able to operate in Arctic waters all through the year. Illustration: Sovcomflot

The 16 new tankers to be built for the Yamal LNG project will be able to break through 2,1 meters of ice and operate independently on the Northern Sea Route.


The 299 meter long vessels will have a deadweight of 172,600 ton and a ice classification of Arc 7. They can operate in temperatures down to minus 50 and break 2,1 meter thick ice, consequently making them able to operate in Arctic waters without icebreaker assistance. Both the bow and the aft of the ships will have icebreaking capacities.

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.

The 16 carriers, the first of which is to be delivered in 2016, are all designed by the Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co, newspaper Dagens Næringsliv reports. Six of the vessels are built for the Teekay LNG Partners and the China LNG Shipping (CLNG).

”This kind of tanker has not existed until now”, Novatek CEO Leonid Mikhelson said about the ships in 2011. ”Our task is to construct the tanker hulls in a way which secures economically beneficial use, with a deadweight of maximum size and at the same an acceptable speed capacity”, he added.

The Sabetta port will be the key point of destination for the new ships. Located on the eastern shore of the Yamal Peninsula, the port will, when completed, be able to handle outshipments of 16,5 million tons of LNG per year. Before that, however, Novatak is facing major challenges in getting the remaining financing for the Sabetta development. Hit by sanctions, the company has limited possibilities in getting credits from western banks and Chinese money now appear as a lifeline for the project. Chinese banks are reportedly ready to provide an additional $10 billion for the project. In addition, the company is requesting the federal government for a major sum from the National Reserves Fund.

The Yamal LNG is based on the resources of the first part of the Yamal LNG plant will be ready in 2017. 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).