A new Arc5 ice-class tanker, Boris Sokolov, is heading to the Russian port of Sabetta on the Northern Sea Route along the Arctic coast to load a stable gas condensate cargo from the Yamal LNG project, Refinitiv Eikon data showed on Monday.
It is due to arrive on Jan.7 after setting out from the port of Nansha in the South China Sea on Dec. 6.
The Northern Sea Route, Russia’s answer to the Suez canal, is very challenging to navigate in winter due to thick ice. It is now closed to eastbound traffic. Novatek, Russia’s largest non-state natural gas producer, has said that another such tanker is due to arrive in three months time.
Yamal condensate is a type of light oil produced along with liquefied natural gas (LNG), and Asian customers are looking to increase purchases for the petrochemical industry.
Traders expect demand for condensate to rise towards 2020 as it allows refiners to produce low-sulphur fuels – critical in light of upcoming shipping regulations.