Russia and China Sign Arctic Deal
The focus of the Maritime Arctic Transport joint venture is to manage an ice-breaking tanker fleet of Arctic ice-class vessels, comprising existing and new vessels that will transport LNG for current and planned Novatek projects, namely: Yamal LNG; Arctic LNG 2 and others.
The agreement was signed by Sergey Frank, President and CEO of Sovcomflot; Leonid Mikhelson, Chairman of the Management Board of Novatek; Xui Lizhong, Chairman of the Board of Directors of COSCO Shipping Corporation; and Wang Yanzhi, President of the Silk Road Fund.
Frank said: "The sheer scale and level of technical complexity of the new international project to provide safe, year-round, transportation for LNG across the Northern Sea Route has required the combination of a whole range of intellectual, technological, human and financial resources, from leading Russian and Chinese organizations and businesses.”
He added: “The project's transport and logistics are consolidated around a single operational platform that will contribute to increased efficiency, safety, and further optimization of the entire cargo transit traffic system through the waters of the Northern Sea Route, including the Polar Silk Road project."
In 2018, releasing its first official Arctic policy white paper, China said it would encourage companies to build infrastructure and conduct commercial voyages as part of its Polar Silk Road plans in the Arctic. China holds a major stake in Russia’s Yamal LNG project.
Sovcomflot (SCF Group)'s fleet includes 146 vessels with a total deadweight of over 12.8 million tonnes. More than 80 vessels have an ice class. Sovcomflot is involved in servicing large oil and gas projects in Russia and around the world: Sakhalin-1; Sakhalin-2; Varandey; Prirazlomnoye; Novy Port; Yamal LNG, and Tangguh (Indonesia). For the projects it serves in the Arctic and subarctic sea basins, the company's vessels had transported more than 250 million tonnes of crude oil and some 50 million cubic meters of LNG.
The start of the successful cooperation between Sovcomflot and Novatek began in 2010, following the organization of experimental high-latitude voyages along the Northern Sea Route which helped ground the technical possibility and economic feasibility of energy shipping with large-tonnage vessels along the Northern Sea Route. Sovcomflot was directly involved in developing the transport component of the successfully implemented Yamal LNG project and, today, operates the world's first Arctic LNG carrier Christophe de Margerie.