First Parts of Arctic LNG 2 Utrenny Terminal Put in Operation

LNG Construction Center
LNG Construction Center at Belokamenka near Murmansk. (Source: Courtesy of Novatek)

In preparation for the full commissioning of the Russian Arctic LNG 2 project the federally-constructed facilities were put in operation this week. Production of liquified natural gas is expected to start later this year according to Novatek. 

After more than three years of construction the full commissioning of Novatek’s Arctic LNG 2 project in the Gydan Peninsula, inches closer. This week Russian state corporation Rosatom received official permits to commission the federal facilities associated with Utrenny terminal serving the Arctic LNG 2 project. 

Between July 2020 and December 2022 Rosatom and its subsidiaries constructed a 4.4km ice protection barrier, widened and deepened a 5.6 km long and 510 m wide approach channel and completed facilities related to safety of navigation.

The $1.2bn infrastructure project was financed to 70 percent with state funds. Novatek itself is expected to spend in excess of $20bn for the Arctic LNG 2 project.

“The construction of the federal infrastructure will ensure the full commissioning of the facilities of the Utrenny terminal in the first half of 2023. In addition, the most important stage of this year is bringing the sea canal to the technical parameters that make it possible to pass through the Gulf of Ob and install the first of three gravity-based structures for an LNG plant and stable gas condensate,” said Maxim Kulinko, Deputy Director of the Directorate of the Northern Sea Route of Rosatom State Corporation.

Floating LNG factories

The so-called gravity-bases structures (GBS) are constructed and assembled at the massive Belokamenka construction yard near Murmansk. From there they will be towed 2000 km to the Utrenny terminal on the Gydan Peninsula.

In contrast to Novatek’s first liquidied natural gas (LNG) facility in the Arctic, Yamal LNG, where modules for the liquefaction plant were constructed in China, shipped more than 10,000 km from Asia along the Northern Sea Route, and assembled on site, the company followed a different approach with its latest project.

GBS Arctic LNG 2
The first GBS nearing completion ahead of being towed to the Gydan Peninsula. (Source: Courtesy of Novatek)  

The GBSs – massive floating industrial facilities 30 stories high and weighing 700,000 tons – contain the entire liquefaction infrastructure. Once they have arrived on site they will be “sunk'' close to shore and connected to the land-based infrastructure.

Arctic LNG 2 consists of three production lines, each with their own GBS with a nameplate capacity of 6.6m tons of LNG per year.

Novatek aims to begin towing the GBS for the first production line to Utrenny in the coming weeks and commission the facility later in 2023.

Second production line

Economic sanctions directly affected Novatek’s ability to complete work on the GBSs. A number of western partners involved in the construction at Belokamenka exited the project during 2022 leaving Novatek looking for new suppliers. A key challenge was the procurement of specialized gas turbines required to liquefy the natural gas. 

The first GBS was largely completed when sanctions came into effect, but progress on the second and third platform was much more limited.

Utrenney GBS.
Graphic showing how the three gravity-bases structures (GBS) will be integrated into the rest of the Arctic LNG 2 facility. (Source: Courtesy of Novatek)

It appears that Novatek has found a way to push ahead as earlier this month it announced that the second GBS had reached more than 80 percent completion and will be towed to the Gydan Peninsula in 2024 as originally scheduled.

"At the moment, the progress of the second production line of the Arctic LNG 2 plant is more than 80%. General construction work has been completed on the second gravity-based structure, and mechanical equipment installation is being carried out,” said Maxim Mikhalev, Deputy Head of the Modules Integration Department of Arctic LNG 2.

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