Russia’s Sovcomflot (SCF Group) has awarded a contract to Zvezda shipyard for the construction of three tankers that will use liquefied natural gas (LNG) as primary fuel.

Each MR-class tankers will have a 51,000t deadweight capacity.

The 1B ice-class vessels will be able to conduct safe operations in regions with difficult conditions such as the Baltic.

Once completed, the vessels will be operated by Novatek under long-term time charter deals to carry petroleum products and gas condensate.

Sovcomflot said: “Using LNG fuel enables us to significantly reduce emissions.

“Compared to engines burning standard marine fuels, LNG-powered engines release 27% less carbon dioxide (CO2), 85% less nitrogen oxide (NOx), 100% less sulphur oxides (SOx), and 100% less particulate matter.

“The technical specification of the tankers reflects the international regulatory limits on sulphur, nitrogen and greenhouse gas emissions, which will come into effect in 2020.”

“The technical specification of the tankers reflects the international regulatory limits on sulphur, nitrogen and greenhouse gas emissions.”

In September, Sovcomflot ordered two LNG-powered Aframax crude oil tankers from Zvezda.

The 1A / 1B ice-class vessels will have a deadweight of 114,000t and will be able to carry out one-year operations in areas with challenging ice conditions.

In order to build the vessels, Sovcomflot signed a set of separate agreements with Rosneft and VEB Group for deployment and obtaining funding, respectively.

Last year, Sovcomflot received three LNG-fuelled Aframax crude oil tankers in order to support the adoption of LNG as the primary fuel for large-capacity oil tankers.