LNG tanker sets new record via Northern Sea Route

Christophe de Margerie is the world’s first and currently the only icebreaking LNG carrier

An LNG tanker in Russia's newly-unveiled Arctic gas project. Gulf LNG demand is likely to be met from increasing imports from the US and Russia. Courtesy Sovcomflot

The icebreaking LNG carrier Christophe de Margerie, operated by the state-owned Russian maritime shipping company Sovcomflot, has successfully completed her first commercial voyage transporting liquefied natural gas (LNG) through the Northern Sea Route (NSR) from Norway to South Korea, according to green4sea.com.

The voyage shows it is possible to use the route as more efficient and faster way to transport LNG globally.

During her voyage, the LNG carrier covered 2,193 nautical miles (4,060km) from Russia's Cape Zhelaniya on the northern Novaya Zemlya archipelago to Cape Dezhnev at Chukotka, Russia’s eastern-most continental point, proving her ability to operate in harsh, high-latitude environments.

According to the company, during the voyage, the vessel set a new time record for an NSR transit of just six days 12 hours and 15 minutes. Moreover, Christophe de Margerie has also become the world's first merchant vessel to travel the full length of the NSR without any icebreaker escort.


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“The total time of the voyage from Hammerfest in Norway to the port of Boryeong in South Korea was 19 days, about 30 per cent faster than the regular southern route through the Suez Canal," the company said. "This again demonstrates the economic potential of using the Northern Sea Route for large-capacity vessel transits."

Christophe de Margerie is the world's first and currently the only icebreaking LNG carrier. The vessel has been built to serve the Yamal LNG project and transport LNG year-round in the difficult ice conditions of the Kara Sea and Gulf of Ob.

The LNG carrier is named after Christophe de Margerie, the former chief executive of Total, who played a key role in developing the investment decisions behind, and a technological basis for, the Yamal LNG project.