Russia is preparing to open up the Northern Sea Route for transport of natural gas. The first ever LNG tanker recently completed the route in order to collect data and verify the technical and commercial viability of the route for the LNG trade.
The LNG tanker “Ob River” left South Korea in the beginning of October and sailed the Northern Sea Route (NSR) in ballast. The journey from NSR’s easternmost point to the westernmost point took only six days.
The 84 682 dwt tanker was chartered by Gazprom Marketing & Trading.
One of the goals for this voyage of “Ob River” was to collect data and verify the technical and commercial viability of the NSR for the whole LNG trade. The results of this first voyage will be very important for the whole LNG industry and the future development of NSR, Tschudi Shipping writes on their web site.
Earlier this year Norwegian company Knutsen OAS Shipping received permission from Russian authorities to transport LNG from the Snøhvit gas field to Japan along the NSR, as BarentsObserver reported, but has so far not sent any tankers along the short cut between Europe and Asia.
According to the Federal Agency for Sea and River Transport, “Ob River” is planned to be transporting a shipload of natural gas back to Asia before the season is over. It is not clear where this LNG is supposed to come from. According to AIS data on marinetraffic.com, the tanker was southwest of Ireland on Tuesday morning.