A Novatek official reported to Reuters that Novatek, the Russian liquefied natural gas (LNG) producer is looking to tranship its Yamal cargoes in Norway or Russia’s Murmansk, as the company is still unsure of its shipping activities, following the US’s sanctions on the Chinese COSCO tankers.
Teekay LNG, the U.S.-listed ship owner stated that Yamal LNG, its shipping joint venture in Russia had been hindered by the U.S. Treasury because its partner China LNG Shipping (Holding) is 50% owned by COSCO Dalian.
Yamal owns two brand new Arc7-class LNG and four operational tankers able to navigate through Arctic ice, establishing them as vital for the transport of LNG from Novatek’s Yamal LNG plant in northern of Russia.
Mark Gyetvay, the Novatek Chief Financial Officer, stated that talks are still ongoing and further stated that a decision, concerning the transhipment, is soon to be made.
The CFO commented on Tuesday, October 8 that “we have nothing to do with the sanctions, but we don’t know if the sanctions may affect the ships owned by the (Yamal LNG shipping) joint venture.”
Furthermore, on sidelines of an Oil & Money conference, he stated that “we have responsibilities before our customers to deliver LNG so we need to protect ourselves.”
Four of the Yamal LNG JV vessels are still in use right now, with a fifth heading to Yamal after its sea trials at a shipyard around South Korea’s Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME), and a sixth going through trials.
It is noted that between November 2018 and June 2019, Novatek had a deal with Tschudi, a Norwegian shipping company in order to reload the Yamal cargoes in Honningsvag, Norway, allowing the company to export the Yamal volumes coming from trains right ahead of schedule, at a time when not all of the Arc7 ships were designed yet in order to export those.
Moreover, a transhipment point in Norway further contributed to the reduction of time ice-class ships took to make the trip from Yamal LNG to a place where the cargo could be transferred to a conventional vessel.
Gyetvay further added that Novatek can also use Russia’s Arctic port of Murmansk for the LNG transhipment, which would also be a precursor for an equipped transhipment terminal that is being developed together with a similar facility in the Kamchatka peninsula.