With the second gas transfer hub now in place Russia’s Novatek appears set to further economize the transport scheme of its liquefied natural gas exports from the Arctic to Europe and Asia. Transshipment hub Koryak FSU arrived in Bechevinskaya Bay after a three week tow from South Korea.
Just weeks after Russian natural gas producer Novatek installed its first massive floating liquefied natural gas (LNG) storage terminal, Saam FSU, near Murmansk, the sister vessel arrived in Bechevinskaya Bay in the Far East. Together the two transshipment hubs will optimize the company’s flow of LNG to Europe and Asia.
Koryak FSU arrived outside Bechevinskaya Bay from the shipyard at Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering in South Korea after a 3-week tow in mid-July.
The barge is the first floating gas storage facility to service the eastern terminus of Russia’s Northern Sea Route (NSR). It will allow for transshipment of LNG from ice-class carriers to traditional tankers and will cut the distance ice-capable ships will have to travel by around 40 percent.
The hub measures 400 m in length, 60 m wide and has a maximum draft of 12.2 m. It will be able to handle the transfer of around 20m tons of LNG annually.
Both hubs had originally been scheduled to enter into service in 2022 but operational delays and the impact of western sanctions resulted in a one-year delay.
Chinese company built the infrastructure
Chinese enterprise China Communications and Construction Company was awarded a $214m contract in 2021 to prepare the anchorage in Bechevinskaya Bay.
Infrastructure development included the dredging of a 6.6 km approach channel, erection of several lighthouses and buoys, coastal berths for support vessels, and preparation of the anchorage site.
Rosmorport, Russian developer and operator of sea transport infrastructure, subsequently prepared the anchorage to receive the FSU.
Last week Koryak FSU was secured in place using 32 anchor mooring ties. Going forward Rosmorport’s Petropavlovsk branch will provide pilotage to LNG vessels entering and exiting the bay for loading and unloading of LNG.
Meanwhile, at the western hub near Murmansk, activity by support vessels and tugs has concluded. The next step will be the receipt and transfer of LNG.
The first LNG carriers are expected to call at both transshipment hubs later this year.