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Sanctioned ice-capable LNG carrier Alexey Kosygin at the Zvezda shipyard. (Source: Zvezda)

Sanctioned ice-capable LNG carrier Alexey Kosygin at the Zvezda shipyard. (Source: Zvezda)

U.S. Sanctions LNG Carriers and Chinese Yard to Disrupt Russian Energy Projects

Malte Humpert
Total Views: 915
June 13, 2024

By Malte Humpert (gCaptain) –

New U.S. economic sanctions expand efforts to degrade Russia’s future energy production and export capacity. Measures for the first time target specific ice-capable liquefied natural gas (LNG) carriers and extend sanctions to a Chinese construction yard instrumental in assembling liquefaction modules.

“The Department’s designations constrain Russia’s future energy revenues, building on previous sanctions stalling the development of Arctic LNG 2 and other Russian future energy projects,” a U.S. State Department spokesperson stated.

The U.S. announced measures against seven LNG carriers constructed by the Far East Zvezda shipyard. Five vessels have been launched and are awaiting sea and gas trials, with two more under construction. The vessels in question are Alexey Kosygin, Pyotr Stolypin, Sergei Witte and thus far unnamed hulls Zvezda 044, Zvezda 045, Zvezda 046, Zvezda 047. The first four vessels are affiliated with already-sanctioned Russian operator Sovcomflot. 

Six LNGC of the same type built by South Korean Hanwha Ocean, while not directly targeted by sanctions, remain in limbo as the yard has been unable to transfer them to Novatek or operators affiliated with sanctioned Arctic LNG 2.

The ice-capable LNGCs are critically needed to begin exports from Novatek’s Arctic LNG 2 project. The company expects to take delivery of at least two vessels in the coming months. The project was initially scheduled to begin production late last year, but six months later not a single delivery has been made. 

Meanwhile, Novatek has been making preparations to assemble a fleet of conventional LNGCs to provide service to its project this summer. Non ice-class vessels are permitted in Russia’s Arctic waters as early as July 1. Nearly a dozen LNGCs have already received permits to travel along Russia’s Northern Sea Route this summer. 

In addition to targeting Russia’s transport capacity, the U.S. has for the first time sanctioned a Chinese yard manufacturing large-scale modules for Russia’s LNG projects.

Over the past four years Penglai Jutal Offshore Engineering Heavy Industries has completed a dozen modules, each weighing in excess of 10,000 tons, for Novatek’s Arctic LNG 2 project. The modules are then transported via heavy lift vessels to Russia’s Arctic.

“Today, the Department is designating a PRC-based shipyard operator involved in the manufacture and shipment of highly specialized liquefied natural gas (LNG) modules designed specifically for Russia’s Arctic LNG 2 project,” a U.S. Treasury spokesperson said.

Penglai shipped its modules containing critical liquefaction technology aboard previously blocked vessels, including Audax and Pugnax, as recently as last month. Chinese heavy lift vessel Wei Xiao Tian Shi, is currently en route with two modules from Penglai’s yard to Novatek’s construction site near Murmansk.

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