Blog August 22, 2017

Historically, arctic shipping has been uneconomical due to extreme weather conditions and ice pack that inhibits navigation. However, in recent years, these shipping lanes have become viable alternatives to conventional trade routes, due to improvements in maritime technology and reduced seasonal ice pack. The wealth of natural gas reserves north of the Arctic Circle, coupled with more efficient links between suppliers and consumers, makes these developments especially relevant to the LNG industry. The Russian gas company, Novatek, is capitalizing on these developments by constructing the Yamal liquefaction facility within the Arctic Circle, which will begin production later this year. Novatek has already begun shipping trials through polar waters, where a fleet of LNG tankers will eventually operate. 

Genscape used its network of Vesseltracker AIS receivers and satellite data to track one of these tankers, the Christophe De Margerie, the first LNG carrier to navigate the Northern Sea Route. This vessel commenced its first cargo-bearing voyage on July 27, 2017, and arrived in South Korea 18 days later, which is approximately half the time that the same journey would take via the Suez Canal.

Genscape Vesseltracker Cockpit Tool

Another vessel included in the fleet, the Arc7 ice-class tanker, is the first of its class that is outfitted to navigate arctic waters year-round without the assistance of icebreakers. Novatek plans to commission up to 15 of these vessels to transport gas sourced from the Yamal facility, which is expected to come online later this year.

Yamal will be a significant addition to the Russian gas portfolio. In 2016, total Russian LNG exports amounted to 10.8 million metric tonnes per annum (mmtpa), but at peak production, this single facility will produce 16.5 mmtpa. Due to its low production costs, large onsite gas reserves, and proximity to growing Asian demand centers, Yamal has several components of a competitive export terminal that could significantly impact the global LNG landscape. Genscape offers a series of tools and services that offer a condensed overview this landscape, using industry-leading data.

arctic shipping routes and lng facilities

Knowledge of supply routes and vessel activity is critical information to understanding commodity movements, and can yield unparalleled insights for traders and market insiders. Genscape’s Vesseltracker product dynamically tracks the movements of over 144,000 commercial maritime vessels using a vast, privately owned terrestrial  AIS receiver network, and partnerships with two world leading satellite providers. To learn more about Genscape  Vesseltracker, please click here.

In addition to vessel movements, Genscape provides diligent, bottom-up analysis of LNG market conditions. Genscape’s Global North American LNG Supply and Demand Service garners comprehensive industry intelligence through proprietary monitoring, near-real time data feeds, and relevant market commentary. To learn more about Genscape’s Global North American LNG Supply and Demand Service, please click here.