Project type: LNG
Operator: Yamal LNG
Partners: Novatek (50.1%), TotalEnergies (20%), CNPC (20%) and Silk Road Fund (9.9%)
Start date: 2017
A world leader in liquefied natural gas (LNG), TotalEnergies draws on strong, diversified positions along the entire LNG value chain. One iconic Company project in the area is Yamal LNG, located in Russia’s Far North.
A Complex Yet Highly Competitive Project
Launched in late 2013, Yamal LNG is one of the largest and most complex LNG projects in the world. But it is also one of the most competitive, as it leverages the immense onshore gas resources of Russia’s Yamal Peninsula. With partners Novatek, CNPC and the Silk Road Fund, TotalEnergies is developing the enormous South Tambey gas and condensate field.
The project aims to tap natural gas reserves totaling more than 4 billion barrels of oil equivalent. To do so, more than 200 wells have been drilled and three liquefaction trains built, each with a capacity of 5.5 million metric tons. Every year, nearly 16.5 million metric tons of LNG will transit through the port of Sabetta, with all LNG production sold to customers in Europe and Asia under 15- to 20-year contracts.
Yamal LNG started up production in November 2017. By the end of 2018, the site had seen the construction and start-up of three trains with a total design capacity of 16.5 million metric tons of LNG. Since then, the first three trains have exceeded their nameplate production capacity by 10%, and a smaller fourth train with a capacity of 0.9 million metric tons a year is under commissioning. With train 3 started up one year ahead of schedule, Yamal LNG, which operates under extreme weather conditions, is a resounding industrial success!
In 2020, Yamal LNG produced 18.8 million metric tons of LNG, exceeding the three trains’ design capacity by 14%, or 2.3 million metric tons. Some 255 LNG cargos (18.6 million metric tons of LNG) and 24 stable gas condensate cargos (1 million metric tons) were shipped to international markets.
A Major Technological Challenge
At the start of the project, there were no access routes to the site by land or by sea. To facilitate the transportation of equipment and staff, construction began on a large-capacity regional transportation hub in 2011, comprising the port of Sabetta and an international airport.
Shipping LNG in such extreme conditions also required TotalEnergies and its partners to design a new breed of vessel: the LNG ice-breaker tanker. This innovative solution allows LNG to be transported all year long without the assistance of ice breakers. Measuring 300 meters and boasting a capacity of 172,600 cubic meters, the ship can sail in ice of up to 2.1 meters thick. In all, 15 unique LNG ice-breakers have been specially designed and built for the Yamal LNG project, beginning with the Christophe de Margerie.