Russia launches Yamal Arctic gas terminal

Moscow (AFP) –


Russia on Tuesday launched the first terminal for liquefied natural gas project, Yamal LNG, in the Russian Arctic, Russian gas producer Novatek said.

The Yamal project "began production of liquefied natural gas (LNG) on the first production line intended to supply 5.5 million tonnes of LNG per year," Novatek said in a statement.

The project is led by Novatek with France's Total, China National Petroleum Corporation and Silk Road Fund.

On Friday, the first liquefied natural gas is set to be shipped from the port of Sabetta on the Yamal peninsula.

It will be transported on the world's first ice-class LNG tanker, named after Christophe de Margerie, the head of Total who was killed in a plane accident in Russia in 2014.

Novatek chief Leonid Mikhelson was quoted as saying that the launch was "an extremely important milestone in the development of the Yamal LNG project."

"The government gave us great help and support," he said.

Moscow in November last year gave the green light to the $27-billion project in the Russian Arctic, with Novatek planning to launch production in three stages.

The plant is located on the Yamal peninsula some 2,500 kilometres (1,555 miles) from Moscow in a region that is key for Russian oil and gas production despite its isolation and harsh climate.

After Yamal, Novatek plans to develop a new giant project in the far north called Arctic-2 on the Gydan Peninsula in the Kara Sea. The first construction work is due to take place in 2022-2023, with its output set to match that of Yamal.