Gas producer Novatek and the Silk Road Fund are also stakeholders in the joint venture. It is targeting the rapid transformation of the northern sea route into a global and commercially effective corridor between the Pacific and Atlantic basins, according to Novatek's chairman
Agreement signed at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum.
The Chinese state giant Cosco Shipping and Russia’s Sovcomflot are to collaborate on a venture to ship hydrocarbons from the Arctic to the Asia-Pacific region.
They are being joined by Russian gas producer Novatek and China’s Silk Road Fund as signatories to a four-party agreement to establish a joint venture, Maritime Arctic Transport LLC.
The venture will also organise transit cargo traffic along the northern sea route between Asia and Western Europe.
Sovcomflot, one of the world’s largest tanker operators, said its focus would be to manage an icebreaking tanker fleet of Arctic ice-class vessels. The fleet, comprising existing and new vessels, would be engaged in the transportation of liquefied natural gas for projects including Yamal LNG and Arctic LNG 2.
“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 have required the combination of a whole range of intellectual, technological, human and financial resources, from leading Russian and Chinese organisations and businesses,'' Sovcomflot chief executive Sergey Frank said in a statement.
He added: “The project’s transport and logistics are consolidated around a single operational platform that will contribute to increased efficiency, safety, and further optimisation of the entire cargo transit traffic system through the waters of the northern sea route, including the Polar Silk Road project.”
Novatek said the agreement, which was signed at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum, represented an important milestone in developing the transportation of LNG produced by its Arctic projects along the NSR.
The Maritime Arctic Transport venture “will facilitate the rapid transformation of the northern sea route into a global and commercially effective transportation corridor between the Pacific and Atlantic basins,'' Novatek chairman Leonid Mikhelson said in a statement.
It would allow for an increase in northern sea route annual cargo traffic to 80m tons in 2024, he said.