Zvezda Shipbuilding Complex is investing in upgrading its production capacity (credit: Zvezda)
Smart LNG, the joint venture between SCF Group (Sovcomflot Group) and Russian natural gas producer Novatek, has awarded Zvezda Shipbuilding Complex a contract to construct 10 new Arc7 LNG carriers.
The newbuilding contract with Zvezda was accompanied by a contract with Russian financial institution VEB.RF Group for the lease of ten Arc7 LNG carriers.
Concurrently, SMART LNG signed long-term time charter agreements for the ten vessels with Arctic LNG 2, the operator of the Arctic LNG 2 project.
SCF Group confirms that contracts for 15 Arc7 vessels have now been signed, including shipbuilding, financing, lease, and time charter contracts.
SCF Group inked the contract for the lead ship in October 2019, while SMART LNG ordered four vessels in January 2020.
The first five Arc7 vessels are scheduled for delivery between Q1 and Q4 2023. An SCF representative confirmed that the 15 deliveries are contractually scheduled between 2023 and 2025.
The vessels will be operated under the Russian Federation flag. The Russian Maritime Register of Shipping (RS) will provide supervision during the construction of the vessel series.
The Arc7 LNG carriers are expected to operate along the Northern Sea Route (NSR) throughout the year.
Igor Tonkovidov, President and CEO of SCF Group, commented: “We are pleased to see that this new generation of Arctic LNG carriers, which will contribute significantly to growing the cargo traffic along the Northern Sea Route, was designed based on SCF’s long-standing experience of safely operating vessels in ice conditions. Equally significant is the fact that the cooperation between SCF, NOVATEK, VEB.RF Group and Russian shipbuilders paves the way for establishing the domestic production of LNG carriers, which entails adopting advanced technologies and engineering solutions.”