SMART LNG, LLC (“SMART LNG”), a joint venture of Sovcomflot and NOVATEK, signed an agreement with VEB.RF Group for lease financing of four Arc7 icebreaking LNG carriers for the Arctic LNG 2 project. At the same time, SMART LNG signed long-term time charter agreements for these tankers with Arctic LNG 2 LLC.
The vessels will be constructed at Zvezda Shipbuilding Complex in the Russian Far East.
Earlier, in October 2019, SCF Group signed financing and long-term time charter agreements for the lead vessel in this series.
The design of the series draws upon the experience of operating Christophe de Margerie, the world’s first icebreaking LNG carrier, introduced in 2017. This led to the integration of various advanced engineering solutions into the design. These will provide the new ships with higher icebreaking capabilities and maneuverability, when operating in the challenging conditions across both the Western and the Eastern sectors of the Russian Arctic, compared with Arc7 gas carriers serving the Yamal LNG project.
The vessels will be operated under the Russian Federation flag. The Russian Maritime Register of Shipping (RS) will provide technical supervision during the construction of the vessel series.
Sovcomflot and NOVATEK agreed to establish SMART LNG LLC jointly in September 2019, with the company being originally referred to as SMART LLC. The joint venture will own and operate a fleet of LNG carriers serving the Arctic LNG 2 projects, as well as other current and prospective NOVATEK projects.