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5 Oct, 2007 03:06

Russia gets two new LNG carriers

Russia has received its first liquefied natural gas (LNG) carriers – the Grant Elena and the Grant Aniva. The ships were built in Japan for Russia’s largest shipping company, Sovkomflot.

Each ship is almost 300 metres long and 50 metres wide and has a crew of only 24 people.

The vessels are going to carry liquefied natural gas from the first specialised sea port in Russia that is currently under construction in the Sakhalin region in the country’s Far East.

The main supplier will be the Sakhalin-2 project, in which Russia’s gas giant Gazprom holds a controlling stake.

“The development of liquefied natural gas shipping is one of the main trends on the energy market. And it is very important for us,” notes Stanislav Tsygankov, Director of Gazprom’s Foreign Relations Department.

Russia’s state-owned shipping company Sovсomflot will be operating the new ships with technical assistance of the company’s Japanese partner.

Before the natural gas is pumped onto the ship it has to be cooled down to minus 163 degrees Centigrade making it a liquid – the special tanks onboard maintain this temperature. It is also used to fuel the vessel.

“There is an easy way to understand the compression ratio. Just imagine a car and a start key. The car has the volume of ordinary gas, while a key has the volume of this gas in liquefied form,” commented Sergey Frank, Sovcomflot Director General.

Each vessel can carry the liquefied equivalent of 90 million cubic meters of gas – more than, for instance, the Czech Republic could use in three days.