First LNG tanker scheduled to set sail from Yamal next month despite glut

LNG Carrier Christophe de MargerieThe first shipment of Liquefied Natural Gas to be processed at Russia’s massive $27bn Yamal LNG plant will leave Western Siberia sometime next month, Energy Minister Alexander Novak confirmed this week. It is unclear if the gas is destined for Asia or Europe, although somewhere between 90% and 100% of the project’s production is known to have been earmarked for the Asia-Pacific region. The project’s first Arctic class supertanker, the Christophe de Margerie, is also known to be able break through 2.1 meter of ice and this August set a new speed record for a journey along the Northern Sea Route as it carried LNG from Norway to South Korea.
Either way, the shipment is a signficant milestone for the consortium behind the project which includes Novatek with a majority 50.1% stake, China’s CNPC and France’s Total (20% each) and the Chinese Silk Road Fund (9.9%). Its development has meant drilling more than 200 wells, while tens of thousands of piles have been driven into the permafrost to ensure the platform’s stability – the first time the technique has been used on such a grand scale. On completion, Yamal LNG will be operating three liquification trains, each with a capacity of 5.5bn metric tons.
Yamal LNG siteThe last two plant module units arrived at the site in September to take the total up to 129 with an aggregate weight of more than 613,000 tons and a value of $10 billion.
It also only marks the end of the first phase of construction with the second and third phases scheduled for completion in 2018 and 2019 although these could be operational between three and six to nine months ahead of plan respectively, according to Novatek CEO and co-owner Leonid Miklhelson. As many as ten shipments per month could sail out from the new port of Sabetta on the Yamal peninsula next year, with the loading of each carrier to capacity taking between 17 and 19 hours.
Despite the current global LNG glut, the consortium is confident that the sheer scale of the project will work to Yamal LNG’s advantage. “This is the largest complex today being built in the world. And it is very competitive,” Total CEO and Chairman Patrick Pouyanne said. 
Novatek has also drawn up plans to build another giant plant on the Gydan Peninsula across the Bay of Ob from Yamal. Production is scheduled to begin in 2022-23.

Source: lngworldnews