Yamal LNG (Russia)


Yamal LNG is an integrated project for natural gas production, liquefaction and marketing. The project operator is Yamal LNG. Novatek (Russia), Total (France), CNPC and the Silk Road Fund (China) are its shareholders. The project implies the development of the South Tambey gas field on the Yamal Peninsula. The project infrastructure includes the LNG plant and export terminal at the port of Sabetta (Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous District).

Sovcomflot has begun serving the project in 2017. On 30 March, Christophe de Margerie, the world’s first ice-breaking LNG tanker, berthed at Sabetta gas terminal, becoming the first vessel to do so.

The vessel was designed specifically to serve Yamal LNG project, and transport LNG all year round in the difficult ice conditions of the Ob Bay and Kara Sea. The specifications of Christophe de Margerie make her a unique vessel. She was assigned an Arc7 ice class, the highest ice class amongst existing merchant vessels. The ship is capable of sailing independently through ice up to 2.1 m thick. Christophe de Margerie can pass along the Northern Sea Route westward from Sabetta all-the-year-round and eastward for six months of the year (from July to December). Previously, the summer navigation window on the Northern Sea Route was limited to only four months with ice-breaker support.

The total power of the vessel’s propulsion system is 45 MW. For comparison, the world’s first nuclear-powered ice-breaker, Lenin, had a power output of only around two thirds of this figure at 32.4 MW.  In just one voyage, the vessel can carry 172,600 m3 of LNG.

Christophe de Margerie is the prototype for a series of 15 gas carriers, which are planned to be constructed for the Yamal LNG project. The appearance of this particular gas carrier signalled the market debut for Yamalmax ships, a new class of vessel. The propulsion system of the new gas carrier consists of three Azipod-type propulsion units. They provide a very high degree of manoeuvrability, and allow use of the stern-first motion (Double Acting Tanker, DAT function) principle, which is necessary to overcome hummocks and heavy ice fields.

The exceptional ice-passing and manoeuvring qualities of the new vessel were fully confirmed by her ice trials, which took place from 19 February to 8 March 2017 in the Kara and Laptev Seas.

Arctic LNG carrier for the Yamal LNG project
Length: 299 metres
Width: 50 metres
Draught (Loading): 11.8 metres
Capacity and type of propulsion system: 3х15 megawatts, diesel-electric ship with three rudder propellers
Ice-breaking capability: Up to 2.1 m in floe ice when navigating stern-first