Gazprom Looks to Arctic Trade Route for Shipping LNG to Asia
Gazprom is testing a new liquefied natural gas (LNG) trade route between Europe and energy-hungry markets in Asia as shrinking sea-ice opens Arctic waters to marine traffic.
Gazprom is sending the LNG tanker Ob River from the world's northernmost liquefaction plant in the Barents Sea to Japan, a voyage to test the feasibility of cutting transit times to Asia.
Asia is the world's top importer of LNG, and the Northern Sea Route offers traders a chance to shave nearly three weeks off voyage times from Snoehvit to Japan.
A successful expedition may also help support the development of new but costly LNG production plants such as Yamal in the Russian Arctic by improving their prospects of accessing the world's highest-paying market.
Once Gazprom has built the natural gas pipeline to the eastern port of Vladivostok, then this northern shipping route through the Arctic will become obsolete. There is no chance that shipping the gas will be cheaper and faster than piping it.
The North-East Passage has been in use for a couple of years, not only for transporting LNG but for other cargo to/from Europe to Japan etc., because the distance is about 8000 kilometres shorter than the Suez route.
Last edited by Alan; 12-04-2012 at 08:22 AM.
What sort of savings are we talking about for a tanker to take the Arctic trade route?
Well this article suggests that using the Northeast Passage over the top of Russia cuts the trip time, and therefore the fuel consumption, by 40%.
The article also says that the 40% due to the journey time being reduced by 20 days. If we say that an oil tanker costs roughly $30,000 a day to operate (obviously a massive generalisation) then the savings would be in the region of $600,000.
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