Two large-capacity Sovcomflot tankers using cleaner-burning LNG as a primary fuel, Mendeleev Prospect and Lomonosov Prospect, have successfully completed voyages eastbound along the Northern Sea Route (NSR).
Lomonosov Prospect has reached Cape Dezhnev, the easternmost end of the NSR, at 05:50 Moscow time on 16 October 2019. Mendeleev Prospect did the same three days later, at 13:00 Moscow time on 19 October 2019. Both vessels, bound for China with a cargo of crude oil from the Port of Primorsk, have crossed the full length of the NSR using only cleaner-burning fuel.
Lomonosov Prospect completed the voyage from Cape Zhelaniya to Cape Dezhnev in 7 days and 20 hours, covering the distance of 2,095 nautical miles at an average speed of 12 knots. Mendeleev Prospect completed the same voyage in 7 days and 5 hours, covering the distance of 2,104 nautical miles at an average speed of 12.3 knots. With favourable ice conditions along the entire route and precise route planning, both vessels travelled the entire length of the NSR without icebreaker escort.
“It is gratifying to emphasize that there is an ongoing demand for cargo transit along the Northern Sea Route during the period of summer navigation. Using LNG fuel allows for a significant reduction of the tanker’s emission footprint, which is critical given the fragility of Arctic ecosystem,” noted Igor Tonkovidov, CEO of Sovcomflot.
“The transit voyage from Cape Zhelaniya to Cape Dezhnev went smoothly. While in passage along the high-latitude route, the tanker ran exclusively on LNG. The tanker fuel system and other components have proved to be highly reliable. I would also like to highlight the exceptional training and skills of the crew. Special thanks to Sovcomflot onshore personnel who provided all the necessary navigation data and other information to the tanker crew and ensured its safe voyage while running on LNG,” said Mark Lyudnik, the Master of Mendeleev Prospect.
Sovcomflot is steadily introducing LNG as a fuel for large-capacity cargo shipping in the Arctic. In October 2018, Lomonosov Prospect crossed the NSR westbound, successfully testing the operation of the ship engines and controls of the fuel systems using LNG during the voyage. In 2019, Sovcomflot had three of his LNG-fuelled tankers cross the NSR eastbound (Korolev Prospect in September 2019, Lomonosov Prospect and Mendeleev Prospect in October 2019), and one such tanker westbound.
Currently, Sovcomflot has six LNG-fuelled oil tankers in operation, all delivered in 2018-2019. The lead ship of the series is Gagarin Prospect. Each 113,000-dwt tanker is assigned an ice class of 1A/1B, with a length of 250 metres and a breadth of 44 metres.
In 2018, Sovcomflot pioneered the adoption of LNG as a primary fuel for large-capacity oil tankers. The data accumulated from operating these tankers shows that using LNG as a primary fuel achieves a 30 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions compared with similar vessels powered by traditional heavy fuel.
Sovcomflot’s ‘Green Funnel’ initiative to introduce LNG as a primary fuel for large-capacity oil tankers has been commended by industry experts. In 2018, SCF Group won an Environmental Award – Individual Company category at the Lloyd’s List Global Awards. In 2019, Gagarin Prospect, the lead ship in the ‘Green Funnel’ vessel series, won the international Marine Propulsion Award for Ship of the Year 2018 and the Nor-Shipping Next Generation Ship Award
SCF vessels have been successfully operating in the Arctic seas for over a decade. During this period, the company has accumulated unique experience operating advanced marine equipment in harsh environment of high latitudes, as well as developing and introducing logistics support solutions for large-scale energy projects in the Russian Arctic.
In 2010-2011, Sovcomflot completed several experimental transit voyages along the NSR, proving that using this route as a transport corridor for large-scale cargo ships is both technically feasible and economically viable. These high-latitude voyages involving SCF’s vessels have laid the foundation for implementation of such projects as Yamal LNG and Novy Port.