30 Mar 2020 16:24

Novatek to resume LNG transshipments via Norway; Covid-19 thwarts launch via Murmansk

MOSCOW. March 30 (Interfax) - Novatek has completed construction of the berths to complete ship-to-ship transshipments in the area of Kildin Island in the Murmansk Region, the company's press service told Interfax, concerning plans to resume transshipments of liquefied natural gas (LNG) via Norway.

"At the moment, owing to the spread of the coronavirus infection, there are objective restrictions on the entry of the necessary foreign specialists at the stage of launching transshipment operations in Russia. Therefore, temporarily carrying out transshipments in Norway's waters is a safer and more justified solution," the company said.

According to ship tracking systems, the Vladimir Vize LNG carrier is on its way to Norway from the Sabetta port, where the Yamal LNG plant is located.

In November 2018, Novatek began to carry out ship-to-ship transshipments in Norway at the Tschudi facilities, given that the Yamal LNG plant was launched ahead of schedule, and transfshipments from ice-class tankers to conventional ones were necessary in order to reduce logistics costs. However, company CEO Leonid Mikhelson said at the end of the year that its Norwegian partners were under pressure "from Western partners", as Yamal LNG is subject to United States' financial sanctions as a subsidiary of Novatek.

In June 2019, the company ceased LNG transshipment operations in Norway, hoping to launch them near Murmansk. The company intended to begin temporary LNG transshipments in the Kildin Island area around March 2020, and it has plans to begin permanent transshipments in the area of Ura Bay in 2022, after constructing a terminal.