Sovcomflot CEO to Step Down

Sergei Frank
Sergie Frank

Published Sep 18, 2019 6:16 PM by The Maritime Executive

Sergei Frank, President and CEO of Russian shipping company Sovcomflot, will step down after 15 years in office. 

The announcement was made by the office of Deputy Prime Minister Maxim Akimov, and he is expected to be replaced by Executive Vice-President, Chief Operating & Chief Technical Officer Igor Tonkovidov.

Tonkovidov, 55, began his career as a marine engineer for Amur River Shipping Company and then Sakhalin Shipping Company. He graduated from the Odessa Institute of Marine Engineers, and also obtained a Master of Science degree in financial management from University of London.

From 1993 - 2003, he was Deputy Chief Engineer of Sovcomflot, responsible for  the fleet technical management. Subsequently he worked as the Deputy Head of  Department – Fleet Supplies and Repairs, Unicom Management Services Cyprus (technical manager of the Sovcomflot fleet). He also worked in leadership roles for the Volga-Baltic Shipping Company and Novoship. He became Executive Vice President and Chief Operating / Chief Technical officer for Sovcomflot in 2012.

Frank, 59, took the leadership role at Sovcomflot in 2004. In July this year, he was awarded the first-class Pyotr Stolypin Medal “for merits in development of maritime transportation and long-term dedicated work.”

Sovcomflot's 2025 Plan

Sovcomflot specializes in the transportation of crude oil, petroleum products and LNG as well as the servicing the offshore oil and gas industry. The company’s fleet includes 146 vessels with a total deadweight of over 12.8 million tonnes. More than 80 vessels have an ice class. The company is involved in servicing large oil and gas projects in Russia and around the world: Sakhalin-1; Sakhalin-2; Varandey; Prirazlomnoye; Novy Port; Yamal LNG, and Tangguh (Indonesia).

In May, the Board of Directors approved the company's strategy up to 2025, aimed at further consolidation of the company’s position in tech-intensive business segments and growth in the fleet share servicing large-scale energy projects, along with its role energy shipping. It envisages a steady increase in Sovcomflot’s operational and financial performance through further growth in the share of advanced vessels servicing large-scale energy projects in the Arctic Sea Basin.

Last month, Tonkovidov said: “Environmental safety and compliance with the principles of sustainable development are very important elements of the company's Strategy-2025. In July, we marked the first year of operating the world’s first large-capacity oil tankers fuelled by LNG. The accumulated data from this period shows that using LNG enables a 30 percent reduction in CO2 emissions compared with similar vessels powered by traditional fuels. This reduction exceeds the original design expectations. 

“By 2023, we expect to double the number of LNG-fuelled tankers we operate. The company continues its systematic research work on implementing more efficient and environmentally friendly engineering solutions for maritime transport.”

Activities this Year

This year, Korolev Prospect, Vernadsky Prospect and Samuel Prospect LNG-fuelled 114,000dwt Aframax tankers were added to the Group's fleet. In May, Gagarin Prospect, the world’s first LNG-fuelled Aframax crude oil tanker was awarded “Ship of the Year” at the 2019 Marine Propulsion Awards. Subsequently, in June 2019, the vessel won the Next Generation Ship Award 2019 at Nor-Shipping 2019.

In March 2019, the Group celebrated the 10th anniversary of the start of LNG shipments from the Sakhalin-2 project. Over the past decade, Grand Aniva and her sistership Grand Elena have successfully completed over 300 voyages, delivering some 43.5 million cubic meters of LNG to Asian customers.

In April 2019, the Arctic shuttle tanker Mikhail Ulyanov delivered the 10-millionth tonne of commercial oil produced at the Prirazlomnaya offshore platform in the Pechora Sea (operated by Gazprom Neft). This cargo of oil was the 150th from the platform since shipments began in April 2014. 

In May 2019, Sovcomflot signed a new $297 million limited recourse credit facility, for up to 10 years, with ING Bank; KfW IPEX-Bank, and Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank. The funds will be used towards the financing of two new-generation 174,000-cubic meter Atlanticmax LNG carriers, which will operate under long-term charters to Shell.