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Novatek reserves slots for 14 Arctic LNG carriers worth $4.45bn

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Tradewinds

Russian gas producer moves massive Arctic LNG-2 project forward with agreement at Zvezda shipyard.

Russian gas producer Novatek has signed a preliminary deal with new domestic shipyard Zvezda for 14 LNG carriers worth $4.45bn.

The contract comes as the massive $25bn Arctic LNG-2 project moves forward.

Russia's industry and trade ministry told reporters on Friday that the deal was agreed last month.

The total number of vessels is down from the 15 reported to be under consideration in 2017. Deliveries had previously been planned for 2022 and 2023.

Novatek said it has reserved slots at Zvezda, with owners now vying to tie-up deals for ship construction backed by contracts of affreightment with the gas producer, the Prime news agency reported.

“A tender is currently being held among shipowners. Several of the world’s largest shipowners, including Sovcomflot, confirmed their interest," a representative of Novatek said.

"We expect Sovcomflot to take on a large number of orders following the results of the tender.

"Under the Russian government’s decision, construction of the first gas carrier on Zvezda shipyard will be carried out specifically for Sovcomflot.

"In late 2018, Novatek signed a time charter party for this gas carrier. A shipbuilding contract between Sovcomflot and Zvezda shipyard should be signed in the first quarter of 2019.”

Teekay has also been mentioned as being in the running.

The Kommersant daily estimated the ships as costing between $316m and $318m each.

Familiar names could be involved

TradeWinds reported in October that Novatek had circulated its early-day requirement on the ships based on a repeat order of the 15 Arc7 ice-class LNG carriers contracted for the company’s first Arctic LNG project, Yamal LNG.

Industry observers have suggested that the shipowner groups that have already participated in the Yamal LNG project on Arc7 tonnage — including China LNG Shipping (Holdings); MOL and Cosco Shipping LNG; and Dynagas, Sinotrans and China LNG Shipping — will be called up.

For Arctic LNG 2, lead shareholder Novatek is planning to build a 19.8 million tonnes per annum liquefaction plant with three trains of six mpta plus.

It will be sited on the Gydan Peninsula to the east of its Yamal LNG project, which is currently ramping up production.