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First Gazprom Neft Novoportovskoye tanker-support ice-breaker launched at sea

The Alexander Sannikov icebreaker has been formally launched at sea during a formal ceremony at the Vyborg Shipyard on 24 November 2016. The flagship Arc130 icebreaker, built to order for Gazprom Neft, is designed to support tankers transporting oil from the Novoportovskoye field in the Gulf of Ob.

Work is currently ongoing on the technical fit-out and finishing of the Alexander Sannikov icebreaker. Prior to its handover to Gazprom Neft the vessel will undergo mooring and sea trials, with ice trials due to be undertaken in winter—spring 2018.

Two Icebreaker8 ice-class vessels are being built at the Vyborg Shipyard by order of Gazprom Neft, able to operate at temperatures as low as —50°C. The main purpose of the vessels will be ice-breaker tanker support, assistance in mooring and loading, rescue operations, vessel towing, firefighting, and oil-spill response. As stipulated under the contract, two icebreakers will be transferred to Gazprom Neft in 2018.

The Alexander Sannikov and Andrei Vilkitskiy vessels will be used to ensure the year-round operation of the Arctic Gates oil export terminal, located in the western part of the Gulf of Ob in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug. The oil terminal, which has a capacity for 8.5 million tonnes per year, has been constructed to transport crude from the Novoportovskoye field. The instruction to commence loading of a tanker with Novoportovskoye crude was given by President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin on 25 May 2016, by video-link.

The vessel is 121.7 metres long, has a beam of 26 metres (including fenders), and a design draft of eight metres. The vessels will have a diesel-electric propulsion system*, powered by azimuth thrusters (two 7,500 KW thrusters at the back and one 6,500 KW thruster at the front). The vessels have been designed on the principle of zero emissions: all solid and liquid wastes will be retained on board for recycling offshore. Both vessels will be registered under the Russian flag.

The icebreaker, as envisaged, with three steerable propellers (two located in the stern of the vessel and one in the bow), delivers maximum efficiency in operations under the severe climatic conditions of the Gulf of Ob. The 21.5 MW-capacity vessel is able to operate in ice of up to two metres thick.

* The propulsion system is that part of a vessel’s power system driving the azimuth thrusters for propulsion.