Yamal is a liquefied natural gas project located deep in the Russian Arctic, a region that is ice-bound for seven to nine months during the year and where the sun remains beneath the horizon for three months at a time. During the winter, our teams work by spotlight in -40°C temperatures. We work alongside project operator Novatek to achieve this feat.
A competitive project in extreme conditions
Launched at end 2013, Yamal is not only one of the most complex liquefied natural gas projects ever undertaken; it is also one of the most competitive.
Competitive because it benefits from the vast natural gas reserves situated across the Yamal peninsula.
Complex because it is located above the Arctic Circle, a region that is ice-bound for seven to nine months during the year and isolated from all cities and oil and gas infrastructure. In collaboration with our partners Novatek, CNPC and Silk Road Fund, we are undertaking a daunting technological feat by deploying unprecedented logistical resources.
More than 200 wells will be drilled for the project as we build three liquefaction trains, each of which offers an annual capacity of 5.5 million metric tons. To ensure its stability, the plant will be supported by tens of thousands of piles driven some 20 meters into the permafrost (a thick layer of frozen subsoil whose surface only thaws in summer months). This is the first time this technique will be used on such a large scale.
Logistics present another challenge. To facilitate the transport of equipment and staff, the port of Sabetta and an airport were built and are now operational. Over the next three years, the port of Sabetta will take delivery of 150 modules representing 450,000 metric tons, transported from Asia by some 20 vessels. The port will also serve to export the LNG.
Specially designed for the project, 15 LNG icebreaker tanker, each of which has a capacity of 170,000 cubic meters, will ship the LNG to international markets. A South Korean shipyard will deliver the first vessel in late 2016.
The sanctions adopted by the U.S. and Europe following the crisis in Ukraine will not impact construction on the Yamal project, which is proceeding on schedule.
The gas route
Yamal LNG unlocks access to the vast gas resources of the Russian Arctic, while also opening a new LNG sea transport route to Asia using ice-class LNG carriers.
As of now, we have already sold all LNG production to European and Asian customers through 15- to 20-year contracts.