Gazprom, Sovcomflot Expand LNG Transport Cooperation

Posted by Eric Haun
Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Gazprom and Sovcomflot named the new state-of-the-art 170,000m³ liquefied natural gas carrier (LNGC) Pskov, after one of the oldest Russian cities. The ship will be chartered to Gazprom Global LNG (GGLNG) under a long-term contract.

The LNGC Pskov is the second vessel in a series of high-specification, ice class Atlanticmax LNG carriers that have been specially designed in accordance with Gazprom’s requirements, and will support Gazprom’s global commercial operations in the gas markets. The first LNGC, Velikiy Novgorod, was delivered and entered service in January of this year. The naming ceremony took place at the STX shipyard, South Korea.

The LNG carriers Velikiy Novgorod and Pskov are an integral part of the cooperation between Gazprom and Sovcomflot, aimed at development of new ‘Gaz Ice’ type LNGCs for harsh environment conditions, with improved technical characteristics to meet Gazprom’s requirements. The Gaz Ice project is the result of joint cooperation between GGLNG, Sovcomflot, the Russian Maritime Register of Shipping and Russian shipbuilders. Special provisions have been made for progressive localization of construction work for the LNGC’s at Russian shipyards.

LNGCs of this type are among the most advanced vessels of their class. Their cutting-edge design (including tri-fuel diesel-electric propulsion systems) has been specially adapted for harsh environment operations (Ice2 according to the Russian Maritime Register of Shipping, with special hardware for operations in low temperature conditions). The design of the gas carriers complies with the latest requirements regarding environmental standards, energy efficiency, crew working and leisure conditions, as well as onboard safety. The type of cargo system (reinforced membrane structure) is suited to operations in challenging climatic conditions. This has been proven through trials carried out in collaboration with experts from the Russian Maritime Register of Shipping and the Krylov State Research Centre. The LNGC Pskov is capable of transporting gas on a year-round basis from practically all existing LNG terminals in the world, including Russia’s first LNG terminal, Sakhalin-2, and the future Vladivostok LNG terminal.

Sovcomflot has always assigned a high priority to the training and education of Russia’s next generation of seafarers. In this respect, the Group has developed strong links with Russia’s leading maritime universities and training institutions. SCF Group invited a group of cadets from the Admiral Nevelskoy State Maritime University (Vladivostok) to attend the Pskov’s naming ceremony in Busan. On this occasion the training tall ship Nadezhda, a winner of the Black Sea Tall Ships Regatta-2014, sponsored by STI and Sovcomflot, made a special call at the port of Busan on her way home. This allowed cadets to attend the naming ceremony, have a tour of the new state-of-the-art LNGC and hold a meeting with SCF management and the ship’s master.

As an equal opportunity employer, SCF welcomes the fact that a significant proportion of cadets participating in the ceremony were young women, who in the future could be employed on SCF vessels. The new LNGC Pskov also has a female officer amongst her crew – the 4th officer Lyana Mitrofanova. She is a 23 year old who was born in the city of Pskov and recently graduated from the Admiral Makarov Maritime University (St. Petersburg), the former school of the legendary Anna Schetinina, the world's first woman to serve as a captain of an ocean-going vessel.

The naming ceremony was attended by: the Deputy Chairman of the Management Committee of OAO Gazprom Alexander Medvedev; Sovcomflot’s COO Evgeniy Ambrosov; the Ambassador of the Russian Federation in the Republic of Korea Konstantin Vnukov; the Rector of the Admiral Nevelskoy State Maritime University (Vladivostok), Sergey Ogay; the Captain of LNGC Pskov, Igor Panasenko, and the vessel’s crew as well as other guests.

Commenting on the announcement Evgeniy Ambrosov, Chief Operating Officer of OAO Sovcomflot, said, “The growth of SCF Group’s LNG tanker fleet, with the addition of the modern, high ice class vessel Pskov, is a logical development of SCF Group’s Strategy, which envisages significant growth of the Group’s gas transportation business, in line with the new industrial energy projects in harsh environments.”

”We are very grateful to our partners at Gazprom for the trust they have placed in us and in return are pleased to be able to offer them our first-class LNG transportation services, guaranteeing reliable, efficient and environmentally safe shipping. We are confident that this ship will allow Gazprom to strengthen its position in the global LNG production and supply markets.

“The LNGC Pskov is named after a historic city located in the Western region of Russia, counting over a thousand years of history. The city was renowned for its significant merchant ties, serving as a gateway to the Baltic region and beyond – linking Northern Europe with the southern part of the continent and Asia.”

Nikolai Kolesnikov, Chief Financial Officer of Sovcomflot, noted, “The financing of the construction of LNGCs Velikiy Novgorod and Pskov was supported by a consortium of leading international banks from Europe and Asia – ING Bank N.V. (Netherlands), KfW IPEX-Bank GmbH (Germany) and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (Japan). In 2013, the financing transaction was recognized by “Marine Money” shipping magazine as “The Deal of the Year” in the project finance category. Recently, the transaction has also been nominated for the “Deal of the Year” award by Lloyd’s List reflecting its robust structure and the credit quality of the deal and its participants. The long-term time-charter of Pskov by Gazprom will add to SCF Group’s portfolio of fixed-term LNG business and increase further its future contracted revenues.”

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