Yamal LNG launches new-build ship tender ahead of planned FID
The 15 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) Yamal LNG project has launched a tender for the construction and operation of a dedicated fleet of Arctic-class LNG carriers, according to a statement from the project consortium on Wednesday.
Seven shipyards have been invited to bid for the construction of 170,000m³, Arc7 specification vessels and 13 shipowners have been invited to bid to operate them over 20-year time charters.
The main terms of the time charters and shipbuilding contracts are yet to be finalised. The consortium nonetheless aims to take a final investment decision (FID) on the wider project by the end of 2012, by which time it expects to finalise the terms of the shipping contracts.
The number of ships Yamal LNG requires remains unclear with the consortium yet to lock into a sales and purchase agreement with LNG importers for the project.
Additionally, the seasonality of Yamal's available trade routes further complicates its shipping requirement. Project leader Novatek, Russia's largest independent producer, intends to send volumes east through the Northern Sea Route (NSR) from May to October when its Arc7 LNG carriers can navigate through the ice to Asia. This new LNG trade route would halve the time it takes to send the same cargo to Asia via the conventional Suez Canal route, according to Novatek CFO Mark Gyetvay (see GLM 22 June 2012).
The design specification of the Arc7 vessels would allow the tonnage to travel at 19.5 knots though open water but speeds are reduced to 5.5knots through sheets of ice 1.5 metres thick. In even ice, the vessels would be able to break through up to 2.3-2.4 metres of ice but vessel speeds would be reduced even further.
Outside of the summer months, the vessels are thought likely to travel west from the Siberian port of Sabetta where the Yamal plant is planned. Novatek announced the construction of Sabetta port had commenced in July 2012.
The first LNG plant process modules however are not scheduled to arrive at he port before July 2014 with the anticipated start-up date of the first train at the beginning if 2017.
Novatek has an 80% stake in the project with Paris-based portfolio supplier, Total holding the remainder.
Ichthys tender close to final stage
The 8.4mtpa Ichthys LNG project in western Australia has selected a short-list of bidders to supply the project with three new-build vessels, according to shipbrokers. Two short-lists of shipyards and shipowners have been compiled, one broker said, before adding that shipowners and builders were now in talks before submitting their final bids to the project.
The equity ownership of the project is split between Japanese oil and gas company INPEX at 70% and Total at 30%.
With the project scheduled to come onstream in 2016, the Ichthys consortium is expected to announce the tender winner by the end of Q4 '12.
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