Rosatomflot in Discussion with Aker Arctic for Ice-resistant and Icebreaking Ships to Enhance its LNG Export Capability

Rosatomflot, the maritime division of Russia’s state-owned nuclear company, Rosatom, is in preliminary talks with Finish icebreaker design firm Aker Arctic Technology for an LNG- powered icebreaker and an ice-resistant LNG tanker, according to reports in the Russian media.  The tanker would operate routes to and from Yamal LNG’s Sabetta terminal.  Rosatomflot also operates Russia’s nuclear icebreaking fleet, soon to be reinforced by the delivery of three vessels under construction at the Baltic Shipyard in St. Petersburg.

This is not Aker’s first Russian contract.  Gazprom Neft’s new icebreaker, ordered in 2015, was designed by Aker, while the firm is also engaged in a project with South Korea’s Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering to construct an LNG carrier capable of proceeding through ice up to 2.1m thick.  This ship, ordered by Yamal LNG, will pair with Rosatomflot’s prospective LNG tanker to enable year-round access to Yamal’s Sabetta terminal without the need for dedicated icebreaking escorts.

Russian involvement in the Finnish icebreaker industry came into the spotlight recently in December 2017, when United Shipbuilding Corporation announced plans to sell its majority stake in Arctech Shipyards, reportedly due to the effect of sanctions on the shipyard’s access to finance.

Rosatomflot has also leveraged its icebreaker fleet to develop a position in the Arctic tourism industry.  50 let pobedy, the world’s most powerful icebreaker, will operate five cruises to the North Pole in each of 2018 and 2019.