The first voyage of the 2019 summer season across the Northern Sea Route began with a liquefied natural gas tanker transmitting cargo from the Yamal LNG through Arctic waters north of Russia towards Asia, Reuters reports.
Specifically, the Vladimir Rusanov, an Arc7 classed LNG tanker, departed the Sabetta port on June 29, and is now sailing through the Chukchi Sea to the Bering Strait, according to Refinitiv Eikon shipping data.
In addition, the Russian gas producer, Novatek, launched operations at Yamal aiming to ship LNG towards eastern places. The terminal began operations in December 2017 and four tankers sailed eastwards.
The positive aspect of the route is that during summer ice clears quicker and for longer as the climate changes, making the route attractive for Novatek. Moreover, more and more vessels are now able to sail through the NSR without ice-breakers because of the summer heat. Thus, for other shipping companies now is the time to sail through NSR and cut costs and time to access Asian markets.
In the meantime, the shipping industry is waiting for Novatek’s decision on the construction of Arctic LNG 2, a liquefaction and export facility next to Yamal LNG, soon after selling stakes to Total, two Chinese and two Japanese companies, Reuters added.
Following Novatek, Maersk aims to explore the NSR in a collaboration with the Russian nuclear-powered icebreaker company Rosatomflot.