On 16 September Shturman Albanov, Sovcomflot’s unique Arctic shuttle tanker, successfully delivered her first significant consignment of crude oil produced at Gazprom Neft’s Novy Port field to the port of Murmansk. The cargo, comprising 34,000 tonnes of crude oil, was successfully loaded at the Arctic Gate terminal, near Cape Kamenny in the Gulf of Ob, on 12 September 2016. The terminal commissioning ceremony was itself held on 25 May 2016, with the Russian President Vladimir Putin in attendance.
Arctic shuttle tanker Shturman Albanov - Image courtesyL Sovcomflot
Shturman Albanov is the lead ship in a series of Arctic shuttle tankers ordered by Sovcomflot Group under a long-term contract with Gazprom Neft. They are designed to carry crude oil from the Yamal Peninsula (YNAD) to the port of Murmansk all year-round. Each tanker has deadweight of approximately 42,000 tonnes (Shturman Albanov: 41,454.5 tonnes). The Russian Maritime Register of Shipping (RS) assigned the vessels an ice class Arc7, while the construction of three vessels of the series was financed by Sberbank CIB. The award winning credit agreement signed at the end of last year, created an important precedent for expanding the participation of a Russian credit institution in the financing of capital-intensive shipbuilding projects.
The naming ceremony for Shturman Albanov took place on 20 July 2016. On 16 August, the tanker joined SCF’s fleet and sailed to her loading point in the Gulf of Ob. Shturman Albanov is registered under the Russian flag and has Saint Petersburg as her home port. Her technical characteristics are unique. The design of the new vessel takes into account the specific features of the waters in the Gulf of Ob, where some areas are relatively shallow – about 10 metres deep – and which is covered with ice from October to July. Shturman Albanov is capable of operating in the Arctic all year-round at temperatures down to –45°С. Her propulsion system consists of two Azipod thrusters with a total capacity of 22 MW, which provides a high ice-breaking capability and good manoeuvrability in sailing through ice drifts and heavy ice fields.
Sergey Frank, Chairman and CEO of PAO Sovcomflot, said: “The successful start to the operation of SCF’s Arctic shuttle tanker Shturman Albanov is really a landmark event. In fact, Sovcomflot’s new tankers will enable the year-round transportation of oil from the estuary of Ob for the first time in history. Sovcomflot is proud of its participation in Gazprom Neft’s unique project – the development of the Novy Port oil and gas condensate field – and we are grateful to our charterer for its readiness to expand mutually beneficial cooperation with our company. Such industrial projects are a keystone for progressive economic development of the Arctic region.”
Vyacheslav Gafurov, the captain of tanker Shturman Albanov, added: “From the technical point of view, Shturman Albanov meets the highest safety criteria. But the safe operation of vessels in the Arctic sea basin is a serious job, which requires not only perfect equipment, but also special skills and experienced crews to operate a vessel”.
“Sovcomflot is already involved in all offshore projects in Russia’s high latitudes, and this is not our first year of such experience. At first, there were Varanday and Prirazlomnoye. We have mastered year-round navigation in the Pechora and Barents Seas well. We have made transit voyages along the Northern Sea Route during the summer navigation periods. Now the time has come for the Novy Port and Yamal LNG projects, for the Kara Sea. To further enhance the level of preparation of navigational officers, we have had special training courses and programmes designed, for example, a programme simulating actual navigation conditions in the Kara Sea. This enables our crews to maintain safety at sea and of navigation at the highest level, even in the challenging navigational and ice conditions of the Arctic sea basin,” stressed Vyacheslav Gafurov.