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Rebuild 4 ships! Russia restarts LNG-powered icebreaker construction plan

Rebuild 4 ships! Russia restarts LNG-powered icebreaker construction plan

Column:Industry News    Date:2021/7/30 15:07:16    Viewed:

Russia is speeding up the construction of large icebreakers to compete for Arctic supremacy.

According to Reuters, Rosatom CEO Alexei Likhachev revealed that by the end of this year, the company will decide whether to build 2 to 4 medium-sized LNG-powered icebreakers.

Rosatom initially considered ordering an LNG-powered icebreaker in 2018. At that time, the Russian energy giant Novatek had signed an understanding agreement with Rosatom, planning to develop an LNG-powered icebreaker, but these plans did not make any progress in the end.

It is estimated that the construction cost of an LNG-powered icebreaker is about half that of a nuclear-powered icebreaker, equivalent to about 30 billion rubles (approximately US$407 million), while the cost of building a nuclear-powered icebreaker is as high as 60 billion rubles (approximately US$814 million) ).

Currently, Rosatom operates Russia's nuclear-powered icebreaker fleet, which is also the only nuclear-powered icebreaker fleet in the world. In order to help realize the strategic plan to open Russia's current North Sea Route (NSR) throughout the year, Rosatom is continuously expanding its icebreaker fleet. The Russian government has appointed Rosatom as the national operator of the North Sea route.

Russia has been striving to become the leading force in the Arctic region, and the receding of the ice cap in the region has allowed Russia to develop a new shipping route. Compared with the traditional Suez Canal route, the arrival time of ships arriving at Asian ports via the Northern Sea Route can be up to 15 days faster.

Transit in the eastern part of the Arctic usually ends in November, but Russia hopes that icebreakers can help use this route throughout the year-which is easier to navigate due to climate change. In particular, the development of the Northern Sea Route should simplify the work of transporting oil and natural gas to Southeast Asia, and quickly complete the work of connecting the Atlantic and Pacific through the Arctic.

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At the inauguration of the Arctic icebreaker last year, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin said that the icebreaker fleet will “ensure Russia’s advantage in the Arctic”.

In October last year, Rosatom commissioned Russia's St. Petersburg Baltic Shipyard to build a total of five 22220 nuclear-powered icebreakers, the first ship "Arktika" (Arktika) was officially delivered for operation. This is the largest and strongest nuclear-powered icebreaker in the world. It will operate on the North Sea route and is regarded as the key to Russia's development of the North Sea route.

According to the International Ship Network, the Baltic Shipyard is currently building four other 22220 nuclear-powered icebreakers for Rosatom. The second ship "Sibir" (Sibir) started construction in May 2015 and was launched in September 2017. The original plan was to be delivered in November 2020; the third ship "Ural" started construction in July 2016. It was launched in May this year and is expected to be delivered in 2022. The fourth ship "Yakutiya" (Yakutiya) and the fifth ship "Chukotka" (Chukotka) were ordered in August last year and are scheduled to be completed before 2025 and 2027.

The construction of the 22220 nuclear-powered icebreaker is part of Russia’s strategic plan to open the North Sea route throughout the year. These nuclear-powered icebreakers will sail along the North Sea route of Russia's Arctic coast, piloting the fleet in the Arctic. With the warming of the climate, Russia hopes that the North Sea route can be turned into a "mini" Suez Canal, shortening the voyage time from Asia to Europe. According to the Russian government’s goal, the volume of freight on the North Sea route will increase to 80 million tons by 2024, and to further increase to 130 million tons by 2035.

In addition to the 22220 nuclear-powered icebreaker, in April last year Rosatom also ordered the "Lider" heavy-duty nuclear-powered icebreaker at the Russian Red Star Shipyard (Zvezda). This 10510 120-megawatt nuclear-powered icebreaker will become the world The most powerful heavy-duty nuclear-powered icebreaker on the planet is scheduled to be delivered in 2027.

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