The company added that according to its estimations there will be a more than four times increase in the volumes of LNG delivered eastbound to the Asian Pacific markets via the NSR for 2019, compared to last year.

The eastbound shipments in particular, represent almost 25% of all LNG dispatched from Yamal LNG during the three-month period.

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Novatek stated that the Yamal LNG project is supported by the existing fleet of 13 Arc7 ice-class tankers together with lower ice-class designated tankers to transport LNG cargoes. Moreover, the full operation of all the 15 Arc7 ice-class tankers is estimated to lead to an increase in the number of direct LNG deliveries eastbound via the NSR.

The First Deputy Chairman of the Management Board of Novatek, Lev Feodosyev stated that

The increase of LNG delivered eastbound via the NSR confirms the commercial priority of the Asia-Pacific region as a strategic direction for future deliveries of NOVATEK’s LNG.

The First Deputy Chairman further noted that "Developing further the navigational efficiency via the NSR combined with the construction of LNG transshipment complexes in Kamchatka and Murmansk will optimize the Company's logistics chain".

This comes after the US late September imposed sanctions against COSCO Shipping Tanker (Dalian) Co. and COSCO Shipping Tanker (Dalian) Seaman & Ship Management Co. for reportedly transporting Iranian crude.

Under the US sanctions, Teekay LNG’s tanker venture; the Yamal LNG Joint Venture, has been qualified as a blocked person, due to the fact that COSCO Dalian is a direct 50% shareholder of China LNG Shipping (Holding) Limited (CLNG), which in turn holds a 50% stake in Yamal LNG Joint Venture.

Moreover, under the OFAC rules, the Yamal LNG Joint Venture also currently qualifies as a blocked person due to the CLNG’s 50% interest.

Novatek however, commented that the specific LNG shipments should not be associated with the sanctions imposed on the COSCO companies, further stating that the case “is a business relations matter between Teekay LNG and China LNG Shipping (Holdings) Limited.”