The first Russian LNG

On 18 February The President of the Russian Federation and the Prime Minister of Japan attended a solemn ceremony to mark the opening of operations at Russia’s first liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant, which is based in the settlement of Prigorodnoye (the southern part of the Sakhalin Island).

The strategic importance of the Sakhalin-2 project for the region was reflected in the distinguished guests at the ceremony, which included Taro Aso, the Prime Minister of Japan, Prince Andrew, Duke of York, Maria van der Hoeven, the Minister of Economic Affairs of the Netherlands, other high-ranking officials and guests from Russia and countries that are co-partners in the project (the UK, the Netherlands and Japan). Among the guests of honour - Sakhalin LNG customers, representatives from international financial institutions and senior executives of the Sakhalin Energy shareholders - OAO Gazprom, Royal Dutch Shell plc, Mitsui & Co., Ltd. and Mitsubishi Corporation.

The innovative and challenging Sakhalin-2 construction is near completion, and a new major energy source is now coming on stream. The infrastructure includes three offshore platforms, an onshore processing facility, 300 km of offshore pipelines and 1600 kms of onshore pipelines, an oil export facility and the LNG plant.

This frontier project lays the foundation for Russia to become a leading energy exporter to the highly competitive energy markets of the Asia-Pacific region. LNG exports are expected to begin shortly.

Christopher Finlayson, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Sakhalin Energy, said: "This achievement is a take-off point, which opens up a new era in the history of Sakhalin. This has only been possible thanks to the cooperation between Sakhalin Energy and its shareholders, the Russian Federal government and the Sakhalin Oblast authorities".

Nearly all of the 9.6 million tonne annual production capacity of the LNG plant has already been committed in long-term contracts to supply customers in Japan, Korea and North America. Sakhalin LNG will be the first Russian gas supplied to these regions. It paves the way for Russia to new markets in the Asia-Pacific region and gives the country the status of a global energy power.

Sakhalin Energy's Chief Executive Officer Ian Craig said: "Sakhalin has now firmly established its position on the global energy map. When the Sakhalin II project is fully on stream, it will supply around 5% of the world's LNG and make a significant contribution to strengthening global energy security."

During the ceremony the guests went aboard the LNG gas tanker Grand Aniva (one of the two ships owned by the international consortium of the Sovcomflot (SCF) Group and NYK Line of Japan), which will be engaged in the transportation of LNG from Russia. The overall technical management of the gas tanker Grand Aniva is performed by the SCF Group.

The main specifications of Grand Aniva, built for LNG transportation within the Sakhalin-2 project are:

  • Length: 288m
  • Molded breadth: 49m
  • Draught: 11.25m
  • Capacity (accounted for 98.5%): 145,000m3
  • DWT: 74,000 mt
  • Speed: 19.5 knots
  • Cruising Range: 13,000 nautical miles
  • Engines: steam turbine
  • Engine Capacity: 29,000 h.p.
  • Cargo Tanks Type: Moss-Rosenberg
  • Crew: 28

The SCF Group is the leader among the world gas tankers operators with 4 ice-class tankers. These gas tankers have an enhanced ice-class structure in compliance with international class 1B and an engine meeting the requirements of 1C ice-class, which allows the tanker to operate in crashed ice 40cm thick.

At the moment there are only 10 gas tankers with such an ice-class in operation - 3 ships with 1A (LU-4) ice-class and one more gas tanker with 1A (LU-4) ice-class under construction. Grand Aniva will make her maiden voyage with LNG cargo from the Prigorodnoye plant in the second half of March 2009.

The commencement of operations of the LNG plant within the Sakhalin-2 project, brings Russia full membership of the LNG exporters' club. At present only 15 countries have liquefied natural gas plants.




www.sakhalinenergy.ru
www.scf-group.ru

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# 1(27), 2009
Ocean and shelf exploration