Photo: Zvezda

Zvezda lays keel for lead Arctic LNG 2 carrier

On 15 June 2021, Russia’s Zvezda Shipbuilding Complex hosted a keel laying ceremony for a new Arctic LNG carrier ordered by energy shipping company PAO Sovcomflot (SCF Group).

This is the lead vessel in a series of fifteen carriers ordered from Zvezda that will be servicing the Arctic LNG 2 project.

The newbuild is also the first-ever vessel of such dimensions, cargo capacity and icebreaking capabilities to be constructed at a Russian shipyard.

The lead vessel is owned by SCF, while the remaining fourteen units are owned by SMART LNG, a joint venture between PAO Sovcomflot and PAO NOVATEK.

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Scheduled for delivery between 2023 and 2025, all vessels in the series will operate under long-term time-charter contracts with Arctic LNG 2 and fly the Russian flag. Their construction is being financed by VEB.RF.

As explained, this series of ice-class Arc7 vessels is designed for the year-round transportation of LNG in the challenging conditions along the Northern Sea Route, including its eastern sector. Importantly, these vessels will have increased icebreaking capabilities and maneuverability in the ice, when compared to the first generation of icebreaking LNG carriers — Christophe de Margerie series.

Each LNG carrier will be 300 metres long, 48.8 metres wide, and will have a cargo capacity of 172,600 cubic metres. The propulsion system includes three azimuth propulsion units, with a total power capacity of 45 MW.

Currently, SCF has 20 large-capacity tankers ordered from Zvezda, with a total deadweight of 1.86 million tonnes and a total cost of over $5 billion. These include 15 icebreaking LNG carriers and five LNG-fuelled tankers of various sizes, for transporting crude oil and petroleum products.