A tanker operated by Russian gas giant Gazprom has made the first delivery of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Japan from Europe via the Northern Sea Route, the company said Wednesday.
"The tanker arrived at the re-gasification terminal in the port of Tobata (Japan) after sailing from Hammerfest (Norway) with a cargo of LNG Nov 7," the energy giant said in a statement.
The Northern Sea Route is a shipping lane from the Atlantic to the Pacific running along Russia's Arctic coast from Murmansk on the Barents Sea, along Siberia, to the Bering Strait and the Far East.
The Gazprom-chartered LNG carrier Ob River was accompanied November 9-18 by Russian nuclear-powered ice breakers. The voyage was completed on schedule and without incident. The tanker delivered the cargo after travelling empty from Japan to Europe in October.
"The two voyages by the OB River tanker in one navigation period have fully confirmed the technical and commercial suitability of the Northern Sea Route for international LNG supplies," the statement said.
The tanker’s successful voyage gives grounds to expect a full-fledged use of the Northern Sea Route for LNG supplies both to the Asia-Pacific Region and the European market, Gazprom said.
Russia currently has one LNG plant in operation, on Sakhalin Island in the Pacific Ocean. Gazprom has considered a number of projects to build LNG plants at ports in the European portion of the country, but so far none have been started.