Ships capable of breaking through two-metre-thick Arctic ice will deliver Russian liquefied natural gas (LNG) to east Asia. The tankers — built by South Korea’s Daewoo — will cut ten days off the current 25-day journey. The first of 15 such vessels currently being built is on order by Russian maritime shipping company Sovcomflot. It will be used to ship gas from the giant US$26.9 billion Yamal LNG project, located in the northeastern section of the Siberian Yamal Peninsula. LNG will take 14 to 16 days to ship from Yamal to China or Japan during summer months via the northern sea route along the Arctic coast of Russia. During winter, when ice is thicker, the tankers will make the shorter journey to Zeebrugge, Belgium, where LNG will be transferred to a conventional carrier for the 25-day trip via the Mediterranean Sea and Suez Canal to east Asia.

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