Heavy lift carriers arrive in Belokamenka after Arctic voyage from China

A file photo of the Kola Yard in Belokamenka. (Novatek)

The Audax and Pugnax on the 27th of February sailed into the Kola Bay towards Novatek’s LNG construction plant.

After an extreme voyage across the Northern Sea Route, the two heavy load vessels arrived at its destination with modules for Novatek’s Arctic LNG 2 project.

The modules are key components needed for the construction of the project’s gravity-based structure. Novatek in early fall 2023 towed its first of three structures to the project production site in the Gydan Peninsula, and a second structure is now under construction in Belokamenka. The structure is due to be towed to Gydan in the course of fall this year.

Despite a mounting pressure from international sanctions, Novatek has managed to proceed development of the project that is to become the biggest of its kind in Russia. As the second gravity-based structure is under construction in Belokamenka, the first has reportedly started production and a first shipment is under preparation in Gydan.

Ten days after schedule 

In mid-February, a tanker made port call in Utrenneye, the project terminal in the Gulf of Ob. It could be the ship that ultimately will deliver the first LNG from the Arctic LNG 2.

The Audax and Pugnax were originally scheduled to arrive in Belokamenka on the 17th of February. They set out from the Chinese port of Penglai on the 6th of January. They were escorted several thousand kilometers across the icy waters of the Northern Sea Route by two nuclear-powered icebreakers, the Arktika and the 50 Let Pobedy.

Both carriers are owned by two private companies in the British Virgine Islands and operated by Red Box Energy Logistics Pte. Ltd., a Singapore company. They are designed by Aker Arctic, the Finnish company specializing in of ice-going vessels.

Crucial for Novatek 

It is far from the first midwinter Arctic voyage of the two 206 meter long ice-protected carriers.

The Pugnax sailed the route in late December 2021 and was followed by the Audax only about two months later. Several more voyages have been made.

However, it is probably the first time that the two carriers sailed together in the same convoy.

The heavy lift vessels have become crucial for Russian natural gas company Novatek and its development of the Arctic LNG 2 project.

Related stories from around the North: 

Canada: Construction starts on new access road to Inuvialuit gas plant in N.W.T., CBC News

Russia: Construction of pipeline across the Yenisey under way in Arctic Russia, The Independent Barents Observer

United States: U.S. Navy to build airport infrastructure in North Norway to meet upped Russian submarine presence, The Independent Barents Observer

Atle Staalesen, The Independent Barents Observer

For more news from the Barents region visit The Independent Barents Observer.

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