On 15 June 2021, a keel-laying ceremony was held at Zvezda Shipbuilding Complex, in the Russia’s Far East, for a new Arctic LNG carrier ordered by PAO Sovcomflot (SCF Group).

Keel-laying ceremony held for lead icebreaking LNG carrier ordered by SCF from Zvezda for Arctic LNG 2

This is the lead vessel in a series of 15 carriers, ordered from Zvezda, for servicing the Arctic LNG 2 project. She is the first-ever vessel of such dimensions, cargo capacity and icebreaking capabilities to be constructed at a Russian shipyard.

This lead vessel of the series is owned by SCF, while the remaining 14 ships are owned by SMART LNG, a joint venture between PAO Sovcomflot and PAO NOVATEK.

All vessels in the series will operate under long-term time-charter contracts with Arctic LNG 2. Their construction is being financed by VEB.RF. All 15 carriers will operate under the Russian flag, meanwhile the shipbuilding process is being supervised by the Russian Maritime Register of Shipping (RS) and Bureau Veritas (BV).

All 15 vessels are scheduled for delivery in 2023-2025. The keel for the lead vessel has been laid in line with the contractual schedule.

This series of ice-class Arc7 vessels is designed for the year-round transportation of LNG in the challenging conditions along the Northern Sea Route, including its eastern sector. Importantly, these vessels will have increased icebreaking capabilities and maneuverability in the ice, when compared to the first generation of icebreaking LNG carriers (Christophe de Margerie series).

Each LNG carrier will be 300 metres long, 48.8 metres wide, and will have a cargo capacity of 172,600 m3. The propulsion system includes three azimuth propulsion units, with a total power capacity of 45 MW.

Currently, SCF has 20 large-capacity tankers ordered from Zvezda, with a total deadweight of 1.86 million tonnes and a total cost of over USD 5 billion. These include 15 icebreaking LNG carriers and five LNG-fuelled tankers of various sizes, for transporting crude oil and petroleum products.

The localisation of advanced civil shipbuilding technologies within Russia has resulted from mutually beneficial cooperation between SCF and Russian energy companies, which allows for the scaling up SCF’s competencies in adopting innovative solutions.