Novatek to Expand Yamal LNG With Additional Train

Yamal construction site (file image courtesy Total)

Published Oct 17, 2017 8:41 PM by The Maritime Executive

In a briefing in London on Tuesday, Novatek CEO Leonid Mikhelson said that the Russian energy firm intends to expand its groundbreaking Yamal LNG project with one more liquefaction train, adding an additional million tonnes per annum (MTPA) of capacity. 

The first three trains will all be online by the first half of 2019, and the fourth train would be in operation before 2020, Mikhelson said. With all trains running, the total capacity of the plant would be about 18 mtpa – about one third less than the output of Cheniere's Sabine Pass facility. The source of the funding for the extra train has not been released, but Yamal has backing from French oil firm Total, China's Silk Road Fund, the Russian government and the Japan Bank for International Cooperation. 

Novatek has also announced that it intends to build a comparable plant on the Gydan Peninsula, across the Gulf of Ob from Yamal LNG. The second facility – called Arctic LNG-2 – would be completed by 2023, and would export gas from Novatek's Salmanovskoye and Geofizicheskoye fields, along with production from new license areas as the firm continues exploration. Mikhelson has claimed that the combined plants could produce 70 MTPA, enough to rival world leader Qatar.

To build Arctic LNG-2, Novatek proposes to build plant modules near the site at a new $400 million construction yard. Yamal LNG's giant modules were built overseas and carried thousands of miles to the newly built port of Sabetta, where they were brought ashore and integrated into the rest of the facility.

Yamal is above the Arctic Circle, and ice poses a logistical challenge in the wintertime. Sovcomflot is already building a fleet of icebreaking LNG carriers – the first of their kind – in order to carry Yamal LNG's exports, and the series could be expanded to handle additional plant capacity.