Sovcomflot and Gazprom Neft Complete First LNG Bunkering in Russia
PAO Sovcomflot and PAO Gazprom Neft are reporting that they carried out the first ship-to-ship bunkering of a marine vessel with natural gas fuel in Russia. While Sovcomflot has been employing LNG-fueled vessels for the past several years, they began about a year ago through the partnership with Gazprom to develop the domestic capabilities for bunkering.
The bunkering operation was for Sovcomflot’s green series tanker Prospekt Koroleva. The 113,000 dwt tanker was introduced in 2019 and she is currently operating under the Liberian flag. She departed Russia in mid-September and is currently sailing to Port Said, Egypt.
Sovcomflot and Gazprom Neft signed an agreement in September 2021 for cooperation in the development of technologies and the use of LNG as a marine fuel. The bunkering operation, which was the first under this agreement, took place at the port of Ust-Luga. The Gazprom Neft vessel Dmitry Mendeleev completed the fueling operation. The tanker took on board 1,432 cubic meters of LNG fuel in an operation that lasted about four hours.
The Dmitry Mendeleev is Russia's first dedicated LNG bunkering vessel. It was completed about a year ago. The vessel is 328 feet long and can transport up to 5,800 cubic meters of LNG. The ship was designed taking into account the challenges of operating in the Gulf of Finland, including the capability of independent navigation in first-year ice up to approximately 2.6 feet thick.
Sovcomflot reports that in the past its fleet has contributed to the development of new LNG bunkering ports in regions significant for maritime trade. Despite the setbacks the company experienced including having to sell a portion of its fleet as a result of the financial sanctions placed on Russia, Sovcomflot reports that it plans to continue to develop LNG-fueled ships. They said that currently SSK Zvezda is building five oil and oil product tankers designed to use LNG as the main fuel.