Sovcomflot specialises in the maritime transportation of crude oil and petroleum products, LNG and associated gas, and is able to operate in regions with heavy ice coverage. The group’s vessels service oil & gas projects on Russia’s continental shelf, undertake complex geophysical exploration at offshore hydrocarbon fields, and undertake international cargo shipping.
Transportation of crude oil and petroleum products
Sovcomflot is one of the world’s largest shipping companies and tanker operators. It is responsible for over 5% of the total volume of global shipments of oil and petroleum products. The company is the outright leader in the Aframax, ice-class tankers and Arctic shuttle tankers, and is one of the leaders in the MR product carrier sector.
The oil tanker and oil product divisions of the SCF fleet are the company’s largest operating departments, working to the demands of Russian and international clients. In 2014 the oil tanker division put the two largest VLCC tankers in the history of the Russian commercial fleet – Svet and SCF Shanghai – into operation.
These divisions transport crude oil and light and heavy petroleum products, including benzene, diesel fuel and heavy fuel oil. Some vessels are engaged in the implementation of programmes to open up high-latitude Arctic routes, while others operate under joint ventures with the leading global oil traders.
LNG and LPG transportation
SCF’s fleet includes eight LNG (liquefied natural gas) carriers and four LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) tankers. These vessels serve well-known global clients such as Gazprom Marketing & Trading, Sakhalin Energy, Shell, Tangguh, Transammonia, and Sibur.
In 2016, SCF Group celebrated its tenth anniversary as an independent operator of gas carriers. The start of gas carrier operations marked a breakthrough into a new market segment that was previously inaccessible for Russian companies. SCF’s first LNG carriers were sent for scrap in 2014, having served for 45 years, a record amongst similar vessels. This was possible thanks to the competence of the crews and the high professionalism of the on-shore team at SCF Management Services (Cyprus).
2014‑2015 saw the delivery of the latest-generation LNG carries of the Velikiy Novgorod class, with multi-fuel diesel-electric propulsion systems, which have a higher fuel efficiency than the vessels previously built to transport methane. In addition to optimising bunker consumption, the use of new insulating compositions developed by the French company GTT enabled a significant reduction in boil-off gas rates.
The ordering and construction of the lead prototype vessel for the Yamal LNG project can be regarded as truly revolutionary. The vessel features a high icebreaking capability and high specific power provided by a unique propeller-rudder system, comprising three Azipods with a total capacity of 45 MW. This is comparable to the power of modern nuclear icebreakers of the Yamal type. The vessel will soon complete the full cycle of trials with the subsequent planned delivery to the customer.
In addition to LNG carriers, two LPG tankers, Sibur Voronezh and Sibur Tobol, have joined the company’s fleet over the past five years. These vessels are chartered out to Sibur, delivering propane and butane from the Port of Ust-Luga, where a modern LPG terminal was launched in 2013, to North and West European markets.
Servicing oil & gas projects on the continental shelf
SCF group has a division which provides the full range of services in offshore oil & gas production, including the fitting out and servicing of drilling platforms, terminal management, and safe shuttle transportation of oil from offshore fields in challenging climatic conditions. Vessels operate under long-term contracts, fulfilling the transport requirements of projects such as Sakhalin-1, Sakhalin-2, Varandey, Prirazlomnoye and Novoportovskoye. This division’s fleet consists of ice-class shuttle tankers and ice-breaking supply vessels.
Offshore geophysical exploration is a developing area of the company’s activity. The research vessel Vyacheslav Tikhonov became the first ship in this class to join the ranks of the Russian fleet, and has since completed a series of exploration projects for the large-scale oil & gas companies PAO Rosneft and PAO Gazprom.
Dry cargo fleet
The SCF fleet has two Panamax bulkers. In addition to their ice class, which allows these vessels to operate in the winter out of ports in the Gulf of Finland and Canada, the NS Energy and NS Yakutia, added in 2012-2013, have notations certifying their high environmental protection standards from the classification society ENVIRO.
These ships operate on the international dry cargo markets: coal, grain, iron ore, potash and fertilisers. During summer navigation in 2013 the NS Yakutia made the first passage across the Northern Sea Route, carrying iron ore concentrate as part of the programme to open up high-latitude Arctic routes between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.