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When tankers turn green

What extractive companies need and what shipowners offer them, studied EastRussia

At the annual conference "Oil and Gas of Sakhalin" representatives of companies involved in the development of the shelf in the framework of PSA projects discussed the prospects for upgrading the service fleet. In Sovkomflot, which operates mainly the independent fleet involved in the Sakhalin-1 and Sakhalin-2 projects, they say that by the year 2021 they can localize the construction of gas-engine fuel tankers in the Far Eastern Zvezda shipyard such vessels are being built in South Korea. What fleet oil workers need in the Far East, EastRussia understood.

When tankers turn green
Photo: Jan Oosterboer /
The session of the annual international conference "Oil and Gas of Sakhalin", dedicated to the transportation of hydrocarbons, was traditionally opened by a representative of the top management of Sovkomflot PJSC - First Deputy Director General of the company Yevgeny Ambrosov. He told the audience that at the fourth Eastern Economic Forum, the company signed a package of agreements with Rosneft, the shipbuilding super-ship Zvezda (Primorsky Krai) and a group of Vnesheconombank, which provide for the localization in Russia of the construction of large-size ice-class Aframax tankers operating on alternative fuel - liquefied natural gas (LNG). The project was launched by Sovcomflot in collaboration with Royal Dutch Shell. The first ship of the series, named Gagarin Prospect, was commissioned this summer, said Mr. Ambrosov. According to open sources, the tanker with a deadweight of 113,9 thousand tons was built by Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries (South Korea) and will be flying the flag of Liberia for Shell until the year 2028. 

"It opens a whole series of" green "tankers. And we are pleased that very soon the construction of these vessels will be localized in the Far East. Tankers of the new generation, running on gas engine fuel, have the lowest environmental impact. Their operation significantly reduces harmful emissions substances into the atmosphere - by 100% compared to similar ships operating on heavy fuel, emissions of sulfur oxide and soot are reduced, by 76% - nitrogen oxides, by 27% - carbon dioxide ", - said Evgeny Ambrosov. Two "green" tankers will be built at SSK "Zvezda" with the support of "VEB-Leasing" with the subsequent chartering of "Rosneft" vessels, he said. 

Earlier, Sovcomflot reported that the program for "green" tankers of the Aframax size includes six vessels with a deadweight of 114 tons of ice class 1B, which will make it possible to transport oil throughout the year in areas with difficult ice conditions, including the subarctic seas. At the Zvezda shipyard in the Primorsky Territory, production may be localized in 2021. Total in the portfolio "Stars", according to the shipyard itself, 26 orders: four multifunctional ice-class supply vessels (one has already been laid down and will be commissioned in 2019), 10 Aframax tankers in cooperation with South Korean Hyundai Heavy Industries (construction of sections of the first of them has begun), 10 Arctic shuttle tankers with a deadweight of 42 thousand tonnes. tons, one arctic shuttle tanker with deadweight of 69 thousand tons.

It should be noted that oil from the Sakhalin-2 project is currently being loaded onto three shuttle tankers of Sovcomflot of Aframax standard size. In August, one of them, "Governor Farkhutdinov", accepted the jubilee 600th consignment of products, the total oil shipment under the project over these years amounted to about 55 million tons. Next spring, two of the three Sovcomflot tankers on the Sakhalin-2 project will be replaced with more modern ones, similar to the already operating Aniva Zaliv shuttle. The oil loading terminal in De-Kastri (Khabarovsk Territory) of the Sakhalin-1 project (operator Exxon Neftegas Limited), according to the operator, serves five shuttle tankers of Aframax standard size, also owned by Sovcomflot. Two gas carriers of the company with a capacity of 145 thousand cubic meters are involved in LNG transportation from Prigorodnoye - Grand Aniva and Grand Elena. 

Sergey Komarov, responsible for the offshore operations of Sakhalin Energy (operator of the Sakhalin-2 project), confirms that high-tech ships are important for the company. He emphasizes that in addition to tankers and gas carriers, the mining platforms are supported by several types of vessels at sea. The Sakhalin-2 project, for example, involves four supply vessels, three duty vessels, and high-speed personnel vessels. For the time being, the operator cannot refuse incoming project ships that help to conduct various operations, for example, install well filters. But the new multifunctional supply vessels, according to Sergey Komarov, gradually allow to refuse coming ships. "I will not say in figures, but we hope that we will increase the number of works that we perform using multifunctional vessels in long-term freight. 2018 year was for us the year when we run around the technology. In 2019 year we hope to get maximum opportunities from the courts project, "he says.  

In addition to Sovcomflot, which has six supply vessels operating on Sakhalin-2, the Sakhalin shelf also serves companies that are part of the Russian holdings-co-owners of the projects. For example, the fleet of the South-Sakhalin branch of Rosnefteflot JSC, according to the company, consists of three auxiliary vessels, two tugboats and one environmental support vessel, Gazprom Fleet also has tugboats and other types of vessels on Sakhalin. In addition, other shipowners are interested in entering the Sakhalin market, for example, Stividory Yamal LLC - the company is working with NOVATEK to supply LNG from the port of Sabetta in the framework of the Yamal LNG project. The company's general director, Andrei Shtyrba, believes that the experience of the team formed in Yamal is “perfectly applicable to the projects that are currently developing on Sakhalin.” "We plan to open a separate division here in 2018 year, and later, perhaps, a subsidiary. We hope to work on one of the projects in the near future. We are ready to mobilize a team of 30 people here, now we are working on a project on transportation of oversize" - he says. 
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