Love pit from siberia

Love pit from siberia

Icebreaker LNG tanker CHRISTOPHE DE MARGERIE, Yamalmax class. The tanker is named after the former general director of Total, who died in a plane crash in Moscow in October 2014. Image: Kremlin, CC BY-SA 4.0

First Russian river natural gas arrives in the U.S

The LNG tanker GASELYS arrived at the Port of Boston during the last weekend of January 2018. It brought liquefied natural gas (LNG) from a U.S.-sanctioned project in the Russian Arctic. It comes mainly from the Yuzhno-Tambeiskoye natural gas field, located in the north of the West Siberian lowlands.

The cargo was unloaded at Boston’s Everett LNG terminal and distributed to gas and electric utilities across the country. The Everett LNG terminal, owned by French conglomerate Engie, has been in operation for more than 40 years and meets about 20% of the market demand for gas supplies in New England and the northeastern U.S. However, a recent cold snap and pipeline capacity shortages from gas-rich Pennsylvania have pushed demand for natural gas imports above normal levels.

By early January 2018, some utilities had already had to resort to burning relatively expensive oil to meet energy demand. The Everett LNG terminal had already received two other LNG shipments prior to the arrival of the GASELYS to help deal with the aftermath of the cold snap on the East Coast.

At the same time, the U.S. for its part continues to export its own LNG from the Sabine Pass terminal on the Gulf Coast. Exports had only reached a new record level in December 2017.

Delivery relabeled several times en route

The GASELYS’ cargo came from Russia’s Yamal LNG plant in Siberia; it is the first ever river natural gas exported from there. The cargo that arrived in Boston did not come straight from the Yamal Peninsula, however.

The GASELYS had picked up the cargo from the UK’s Grain terminal three weeks earlier, according to industry newsletter LNG World News. There it had been taken over by the LNG tanker CHRISTOPHE DE MARGERIE coming from the Kara Sea.

The tanker is part of a fleet of 15 icebreakers needed to call at the port of Sabetta in all weather conditions. The port, located in the northeastern part of the Yamal Peninsula at the mouth of the estuary, is a core part of the Yamal LNG project. The ice-breaking tankers are essential in a region that is frozen for seven to nine months of the year and where winter temperatures can drop to -50 degrees Celsius.

In Great Britain itself, the cargo was controversial even before its arrival. Finally, Russian President Vladimir Putin had personally set the cargo on its way. National Grid, the owner of the Grain terminal, had tried to steamroll the media frenzy that was gradually building up. The supplier finally stated that the natural gas would not be used in the United Kingdom, but would be exported again.

Neither the British nor the EU sanctions directed against Russia directly attack the Yamal LNG project, but so far the Russian oil industry has been the main focus of interest. But Prime Minister Theresa May had only recently sharpened her tone toward Moscow, so that the gas was now preferred to be withdrawn, even though it could have been put to good use in Great Britain in view of the price development during the winter. This noble restraint is remarkable in view of the recently revealed business practices of the U.S. competition (Putin’s trap).

On the way, the river liquefied natural gas had changed hands yet another time. According to LNG World News, it was sold to Petronas LNG UK, a British subsidiary of Malaysian energy giant Petronas.

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