Zvezda Shipyard Could Start Building New LNG-powered Icebreakers

Russian independent LNG producer Novatek is shelling 60 billion rubles ($952.96 million) to build four icebreakers running on liquefied gas to provide navigation services along the western part of the Northern Sea Route, Kommersant reports

The Zvezda Shipyard, managed by a consortium of Rosneft and Gazprombank, will get the order, Kommersant wrote. Novatek clarified that the company is still in negotiations with different shipyards and wants to receive all icebreakers before the end of 2023. Sources told Kommersant they doubt that the deadline is feasible, while experts believe that such vessels will be relevant once the Taymyr atomic icebreakers become obsolete by 2025-2026.

Novatek told Kommersant that the company considers making a series of three icebreakers running on LNG, as well as an option for another vessel. “Commercial negotiations on manufacturing a series with deadlines for all ships before the end of 2023 are underway with shipyards, including Zvezda,” the company said.

In the future, Novatek would be interested in transferring the icebreakers to companies with expertise in fleet management under icy conditions. Russia’s state nuclear energy corporation Rosatom told the business newspaper that the decision on LNG icebreakers will be discussed at a meeting on July 24, and at the moment it is ‘too early’ for questions.

Sources told the newspaper that in addition to Zvezda, China’s Hudong-Zhonghua Shipyard was considered for building site, as well as cooperation with Korea’s Samsung or Hyundai. The Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade told Kommersant that the issues of price and cooperation would be resolved when a deal is concluded between the customer and the contractor.