Japanese shipping company to start year-round LNG transport from Yamal to Europe

The major Japanese shipping company Mitsui O.S.K. Lines has decided to be the first to open a transport route for LNG from Yamal to Europe which will be operated year round. Moreover, it will launch a line from the Russian peninsula to Japan during summer time. These projects will be started up in 2018, said a spokesman of Mitsui to the Russian news agency ITAR-TASS on Wednesday.

The main idea is to use tankers, which are constructed as icebreakers. With these specialized vessels Mitsui OSK Lines will be able to transport LNG (liquefied natural gas) from a new Russian plant pn Yamal Peninsula to the markets of Europe and East Asia. Behind the huge LNG project in Yamal are Russia’s largest private gas producer Novatek and the French energy giant Total.

The LNG route to Europe can be operated all year round, one way takes about 11 days. Due to the difficult ice conditions the route to Japan and other East Asian countries can only be operated from June to October. A journey between Jamal and Japan will take approx. 18 days.

Mitsui O.S.K. Lines plans to build three icebreaker tankers and is supposed to invest about 100 billion yen (about 1 billion USD) in the project. Both Mitsui and a Chinese shipping company are scheduled to deliver each around three million tons of LNG per year.