Photo: Illustration only (Courtesy of MOL)

MOL inks Arctic LNG 2 carriers charters

Japanese shipping major Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL), signed charter agreements for three icebreaking LNG carriers.

MOL inks Arctic LNG 2 carriers charters
Illustration only (Courtesy of MOL)

The deal was signed with LLC ARCTIC LNG 2, a unit of the Russian LNG operator Novatek.

The three vessels will be built by Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) and are scheduled for delivery in 2023.

The vessels will mainly transport LNG from an LNG loading terminal on the Gydan Peninsula in the Russian Arctic to the floating LNG storage units (FSU) to be installed at the transshipment terminal in Kamchatka (eastbound) and Murmansk (westbound) via the Northern Sea route.

Compared with MOL’s previous icebreaking LNG carriers, which can only sail eastbound in the Northern Sea Route during mostly summer and autumn period of time when the ice is thin, the new vessels will have a narrower width, hull form optimized for ice breaking, and an increased propulsion engine output which will enable the vessels to sail east via the Northern Sea Route all year round, MOL said in its statement.

The combination of these ice-breaking LNG vessels, which can transport LNG to the FSUs in the east and west throughout the year, and conventional LNG carriers that will transport LNG from the FSUs to their final destinations, will enable efficient year-round transportation of LNG from the Russian Arctic to areas of demand, including those in Asia.

The eastbound transportation route will reduce the distance of the voyage by approximately 65 per cent compared to the westbound route via the Suez Canal for Asian destinations, thereby making a significant contribution to a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by vessels.

MOL has been engaged in transporting LNG using three icebreaking LNG carriers on the Northern Sea Route since March 2018 for the Yamal LNG project in Russia.