In St. Petersburg, Russia, it was a day of signatures and handshakes as strategic partnerships were formed between Russian energy major Gazprom, JSC United Shipbuilding Corporation, and the Russian Maritime Register to cooperate on a strategic initiative aimed at maximizing Russian content in all elements of their LNG shipping activities, as well as supporting the development of a new LNG carrier construction facility at USC’s shipyard ‘Zvezda’ in Bolshoy Kamen, slightly east of Vladivostok.
To build their planned 13 new ice-class LNG carriers, Gazprom also signed Memorandums of Understanding with Russian shipowner Sovcomflot (SCF), the French LNG cargo containment specialist GTT, as well as Technology Transfer Agreements with various undisclosed South Korean shipyards.
These ships are planned for construction between 2017 and 2021.
Considering the vast amount of natural gas in Russia, this is not really surprising and reflects similar efforts made by Qatar over the past 10 years.
Nikolai Grigoriev, Director of Global Shipping & Logistics of Gazprom Marketing & Trading (GM&T), commented:
“We are proud to witness a very important milestone reached today by GM&T and our partners in our strategic drive to maximise Russian content in the LNG shipping activities of the Gazprom Group. Today’s event has confirmed that the course we set back in 2010 to involve key Russian partners in the design and construction of the most advanced LNG vessels, in the development of highly qualified Russian LNG officers and ratings and in growing our global LNG trading business which now spans all markets and shipping routes including the Northern Sea Route, was correct. We will continue moving towards our dream that Russian LNG is delivered to the Gazprom’s customers around the world on vessels built in Russia and operated by Russian seafarers.”