News review of the events on the NSR
#2 September 2020

1. Head of Rosatom named planned cargo volume on NSR in 2020

In 2020, the state corporation “Rosatom” plans to increase the cargo volume on the Northern Sea Route to 32 million tons. This was announced on Saturday, September 26, by the head of “Rosatom” Alexey Likhachev.

In June, Likhachev expected that the freight volume along the Northern Sea Route by the end of 2020 could exceed 30 million tons. In addition, the head promised that Rosatom would keep the volume of investments at the level of 250 billion rubles.

In May, Putin instructed to work at the launch of regular fish shipments from the Far East via the Northern Sea Route. He noted that it was necessary to organize properly the work of the ports in order to start exporting products.

At the end of last year, the Russian government approved a plan for the development of the NSR infrastructure until 2035.


2. Shipbuilding complex Zvezda signed contract for construction of 10 gas carriers for Arctic LNG-2

The shipbuilding complex Zvezda has signed a contract for the construction of 10 gas carriers of Arc 7 ice class for the project Arctic LNG-2 of NOVATEK Company. Rosneft announced this on September 25, 2020.

The vessels will provide the transportation of LNG that will be produced at LNG plant Arctic LNG-2 at the Gydan peninsula in Yamal-Nenets Autonomus district. The LNG will be carried in heavy ice conditions of the Northern Sea Route that requires strict demands to the ships.

Technical specifications of LNG tankers of Arctic LNG-2 project:

  • length – 300 m, beam – 48,8 m,
  • LNG cargo capacity – 172,6 thousand m3,
  • powerplant output – 45 MW,
  • main fuel – LNG,
  • ability to overcome ice up to 2.1 m thick.

The building of arctic gas carriers is one of the most complicated processes in world shipbuilding industry from technical point of view. Such vessels were not constructed in Russia and were previously ordered abroad. Thus, all 15 LNG carriers operating for the first LNG project of NOVATEK – Yamal LNG – were built at the South Korean shipyard Daewoo Shipbuilding&Marine Engineering (DSME). 15 tankers that will be built at Zvezda will serve Arctic LNG-2.

Earlier, there were concerns about the timing of the completion of the ships construction, that is why NOVATEK received permission from the Russian government to place an order for 10 LNG carriers abroad.

To implement such a technologically complex project, Zvezda got an international license in July 2020 and became the only Russian shipyard that can build LNG carriers with a membrane storage system.

The start of the construction of the first gas carrier for Arctic LNG-2 scheduled at the end of 2020. At the moment, all the necessary documents have been signed and the source of funding has been determined. Funds for the construction of new ships will be provided by VEB.RF.

Late 2019 – early 2020 Zvezda and VEB.RF Group companies have signed contracts for the construction of 5 Arctic LNG carriers. Taking into account the 10 currently contracted LNG carriers, the total number of tankers for the Arctic LNG-2 project in the order book of Complex Zvezda increased to 15 vessels.

The vessels will be operated under long-term time-charter contracts SMART LNG (JV Sovcomflot and NOVATEK) with Arctic LNG-2. In total, 35-37 tankers will be built at Zvezda for NOVATEK projects until 2030, including 15-17 vessels for Arctic LNG-1 (the company’s next LNG project), and 5 vessels for the Obskiy LNG.


3. Sedov barque sailed on the Laptev sea for the first time in 150 years

The world’s largest sailing ship, barque, “Sedov” was sailing on one of the most severe Arctic seas – the Laptev Sea, the press service of Russian Federal Fisheries Agency reported on September 25.

Sailing along the Northern Sea Route from Vladivostok to Kaliningrad, Sedov barque is crossing one of the most severe seas in the Arctic – the Laptev Sea. On the morning of September 25, in addition to the fore-and-aft sails, four-sided sails were set on the barque and the main engine was stopped.

All day Friday, above 75 degrees north latitude, the ship was going only under the sails. The senior navigator of the ship Dmitry Korneev noted, that this has not happened in the Arctic for at least 150 years.

The weather served the passage: sun, wind astern, temperature 6 degrees Celsius. However, by the evening the wind and sea roughness increased to 4–5 points, the captain ordered to take in the sails.

Let us recall that the expedition of the training sailing ship “Sedov” along the Northern Sea Route serves to fulfill several tasks. One of them is to draw the attention of the world community to the need for careful and rational development of the Arctic. Another task, no less important, is to demonstrate the safety of the navigation along the Northern Sea Route, even for ships of this type like the Sedov barque.

The expedition started from Vladivostok on August 19, and it is planned to reach the final point of the route, Kaliningrad, on November 24, 2020. During this time, the barque must pass 8305 nautical miles, going on the way to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, Egvekinot, Pevek, Sabetta and Murmansk. Now the ship is moving towards the port of Sabetta.


4. National Wealth Fund of Russia finances LNG terminal in Kamchatka

The Russian government has included the construction of LNG transshipment complex in the Kamchatka among large projects with public ownership, financed by the National Wealth Fund (NWF) and within the framework of federal targeted programs. According to the government’s website, the implementation of projects from this list is under the special control of the state, reports TASS.

The Cabinet of Ministers recalled that following a working trip to the Far East in August 2020, Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin ordered to the Ministry of Energy, Ministry for Development of Russian Far East, Ministry of Economic Development, Ministry for the Protection of the Environment and Natural Resources, Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Defence toghether with the authorities of Kamchatka, NOVATEK and Gazprom to provide a plan to ensure gas supply to the region. “This document should provide for, among other things, the construction of a gas transportation infrastructure, taking into account the construction of the LNG transshipment complex,” the government added.


4. Melting of Arctic sea ice breaks all records

The area of sea ice in the Arctic on September 15, 2020, shrank to 3.74 million square kilometers. This is the second lowest rate in four decades. Scientists have once again emphasized that global warming, caused by human activity, is rapidly and dramatically changing the circumpolar region of the Northern Hemisphere.

As noted in a report of the US National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), in the past 40 years, the area of Arctic ice has become less than 4 million square kilometers only once. Now it has happened again.

In 2012, the Earth’s ice cap shrank to 3.41 million square kilometers. At that time, the loss of ice was accompanied by a powerful cyclonic storm. At the end of the season, it destroyed fields that did not have time to melt. The record has not beaten so far. But the current figure is not much higher, as evidenced by data from artificial satellites.

According to NSIDC, in 2020, ice losses increased especially rapidly between August 31 and September 5, due to invasions of warm air due to the heat wave in Siberia. The melting rate during these 6 days was higher than at any other time in the history of observations. Also, back in July, scientists emphasized that Siberian local warming would have been impossible without climate changes caused by anthropogenic activity.

When the Arctic sea ice melts, dark patches of open water cover the seas. They actively absorb solar radiation rather than reflecting it back into the atmosphere like white ice fields do. This process, in turn, further enhances warming. That is why the temperatures in the Arctic have risen more than twice as fast as in the rest of the world over the past 30 years.



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