Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd. (MOL) has announced signing charter agreements for three icebreaking liquefied natural gas (LNG) carriers with Arctic LNG 2, through a wholly owned subsidiary of MOL on October 28.
The three vessels will be built by Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co. and are scheduled for delivery in 2023.
The vessels will mainly transport LNG from an LNG loading terminal on the Gydan Peninsula in the Russian Arctic to the floating LNG storage units to be installed at the transshipment terminal in Kamchatka (eastbound) and Murmansk (westbound) via the Northern Sea route.
Compared with MOL’s previous icebreaking LNG carriers, which can only sail eastbound in the Northern Sea Route during mostly summer and autumn period of time when the ice is thin, the new vessels will have a narrower width, hull form optimized for ice breaking, and an increased propulsion engine output which will enable the vessels to sail east via the Northern Sea Route all year round.
The combination of these ice-breaking LNG vessels, which can transport LNG to the FSUs in the east and west throughout the year, and conventional LNG carriers that will transport LNG from the FSUs to their final destinations, will enable efficient year-round transportation of LNG from the Russian Arctic to areas of demand, including those in Asia, MOL said in a statement.
The eastbound transportation route will reduce the distance of the voyage by approximately 65% compared to the westbound route via the Suez Canal for Asian destinations, thereby making a significant contribution to a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by vessels.