Ice-class LNG tanker
Russian shipbuilding company Zvezda Shipbuilding Complex is building a series of 15 next-generation Arc7 ice-class liquefied natural gas (LNG) tankers for PJSC Novatek’s Arctic LNG 2 project in Gydan Peninsula in the northern Siberia, Russia.
The Arc7 ice-class LNG tanker fleet will form the core of the Arctic fleet for transportation of LNG from Novatek’s Arctic LNG 2 project and ensure year-round navigation along the Northern Sea Route including its Eastern part throughout the year. The vessels will supply LNG to the Asian Pacific region and boost the development of the Russian shipbuilding industry.
This tankers will have increased icebreaking and manoeuvring characteristics than the existing fleet used by Novatek’s Yamal LNG project. The carriers will be registered under the Russian Federation and operated by the Russian crew.
The new fleet of 15 Arc7 ice-class tankers will be owned and operated by Smart LNG, which was established as a joint venture between Novatek and Sovcomflot in September 2019. The vessels will be leased to Sovcomflot under a long-term contract between the two companies.
The partners of Arctic LNG 2, namely Novatek, Total, CNPC, CNOOC, and a consortium of Mitsui and JOGMEC, approved the construction of 15 Arc7 ice-class LNG tankers at Zvezda Shipbuilding Complex in 2019. Novatek holds 60% interest in the Arctic LNG 2 project, while its partners Total, CNPC, CNOOC, and Mitsui and JOGMEC consortium, each hold a 10% interest.
The contracts for construction, chartering, and financing of the lead ship in the class were signed by Sovcomflot in October 2019, while the contracts for another four units were signed by SMART LNG in January 2020. SMART LNG also signed contracts with VEB.RF Group and Zvezda Shipbuilding Complex for the next ten ships in the series in September 2020.
The funding for the construction of 15 ships will be provided by VEB.RF, which provided the first tranche of $66m for construction of the lead ship in December 2019.
The LNG carriers are being built at the Zvezda Shipbuilding Complex in the Russian Far East. The ships will be delivered to Arctic LNG 2 under long-term charter agreements with Smart LNG and Sovcomflot.
The steel cutting ceremony for the lead Arc7 ice-class LNG vessel was held in November 2020, while the first steel was cut for the second ship in the series in January 2021.
The construction of Arc7 ice-class LNG tanker is significantly challenging as the construction of Arctic class gas carrier vessels is a technologically complex process in the shipbuilding industry.
The Zvezda Shipyard Complex will be the first company to undertake the construction of liquefied gas tankers in Russia.
Zvezda will utilise equipment specific to Russian shipyards and latest technologies for the construction of Arc7 ice-class tanker. The first part of the Arc7 ice-class tanker under construction was cut in the hull production unit using a high-tech plasma-cutting machine.
The thrusters for the vessels will be produced at the Sapphire Steerable Thrusters Plant in Bolshoy Kamen, Russia.
The design of Arc7 ice-class tanker will allow the vessel to break through up to 2m-thick ice. The tanker will measure 300m long and 48.8m wide and will have cargo tanks with the capacity to hold 172,600m³ of LNG.
The vessels will be able to transport LNG in severe weather conditions. Each LNG tanker will be equipped with a 45MW power station.
The tanker will be propelled by three unique steerable thrusters and will use LNG as the primary fuel to help reduce harmful emissions, ensuring increased environmental safety.
In November 2020, Mitsui O S K Lines (MOL), signed charter agreements with Arctic LNG 2 for three ice-breaking LNG carriers. The vessels will be built by Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering.
The carriers are 300m long and 47m wide, and will have a storage capacity of 172,500m³. Each vessel will have a maximum ice-breaking capacity of 2.1m level ice, with a hull form more optimised than that of the carriers employed for the Yamal LNG project.
The ships will be fitted with advanced propulsion to provide improved ice-breaking capabilities when heading forward and aft.The propulsion system will include a double acting system (ahead and astern), an icebreaker bow structure, and a three-shaft POD propeller at the stern.
The ice-breaking LNG carriers for MOL will be fitted with electrically-driven deck equipment, semi-enclosed mooring spaces, electrical heat tracing, steam de-icing system, and triple source heating systems among other facilities.
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