Sabetta grows. The unique Arctic project.

The number of vessel calls at the Arctic port of Sabetta (Russia) has grown more than twice in 2016, reports PortNews. The local customs officials registered 120 arrivals and 100 departures of sea vessels, while in 2015 these were 50 and 59 respectively. The ships deliver mostly construction materials, crushed stone, cement, components and equipment for the new plant to be built on the Yamal Peninsula to process the liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the South Tambey field. The cargo, in total 505 th. tons in 2016, was shipped from China, Germany, Belgium, Egypt, Korea, USA, Finland, Spain, as well as from Russian ports.

Sabetta is a new seaport under construction on the eastern coast of the Yamal Peninsula in the Ob Bay. It is a key element of an ambitious project of the Russian Federation – Yamal LNG, which involves construction of an LNG plant capable of producing 16.5 mln tons of LNG and up to 1.2 mln tons of gas condensate annually from the resources of the South Tambey Field, which will be shipped to Asia and Europe along the Northern Sea Route all year round. Phase 1 of the plant is to be operational in the third quarter of 2017. The project is operated by JSC Yamal LNG, a joint-venture of the Russian gas company Novatek (50.1%), the French Total (20%), China National Petroleum Corporation (20%) and Silk Road Fund (9.9%).

The complex and competitive project is being developed in extreme conditions: located above the Arctic Circle, the region is characterized by 3 months of polar night a year, temperatures of -50 degrees Celsius and the shoreline ice-bound for up to 9 months. The site isolation from cities and infrastructure makes the construction logistics an unprecedented challenging task. Still, the vast natural gas resources of the Russian Arctic, estimated at 926 bln cubic meters at the South Tambey Field, present an opportunity to strengthen the country’s position at the LNG market.

To facilitate the transportation of materials and equipment, the construction of the multipurpose port of Sabetta started in July, 2012. The unique green field project involves dredging of the approach channel and the port basin, the works than can be done during the short (70 days) navigation period from August till October. Today the first phase is completed and the terminal to support deliveries of construction cargo, supplies and large LNG plant process modules is operating all year round. Now the berths for handling LNG and gas condensate are being built to be ready to accept the first LNG carriers at the end of 2017. The 15m deep port will be able to export 16 mln tons at the start and 30 mln tons per year at full capacity by 2020. That could make it the world’s biggest port north of the Arctic Circle.

Julia Louppova:
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