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Rosatom develops gas carrier ship for year-round service on Norther Sea Route

At first, designers planned to make a most import-free model and to use imported components only for the propulsion system and engine

MOSCOW, February 16. /TASS/. The Rosatom state-run corporation develops a high-tonnage gas tanker for year-round work on the Northern Sea Route. The estimated cost of Project 10070 is 21 billion rubles ($281 million), said Vladimir Aptekarev, director for shipbuilding and floating power units at Atomenergomash (Rosatom's machinery division).

"Our decision to develop a gas tanker was based on the analysis of the international market of LNG tankers," he said. "The research have found that presently all LNG tankers are foreign. Thus, there is a clear demand for a Russian product, where Russian equipment will be used."

At first, designers planned to make a most import-free model and to use imported components only for the propulsion system and engine. But after February, 2022, Project 10070 was reviewed. The corporation's machinery division is working on a gas tanker of Project 10070M - where the energy, propulsion and steering complexes would use only Russian components.

About thermos tanker and navigation in ice

The gas tanker is developed in compliance with an innovative solution in the cargo-containing system. "The tanker, figuratively speaking, will be like a thermos. We have decided to use for the first time on a vessel of such dimensions the B type plug-in tanks. The idea is to assemble the tanks separately, have them insulated and installed into the hull of a ready vessel," the company's representative said. However, plug-in tanks require more space. Hence the solution is to use composite materials, which offer necessary physical and mechanical characteristics and make lighter the entire structure, thus reducing its dimensions.

As for sailing through ice, in order to expand the "operational window" in independent navigation along the Northern Sea Route, the propulsion system, including the vessel's contours, have been optimized, and the vessel's class has been raised from Arc7 to Arc8. (Arc8 means independent navigation in cohesive 1-year-old and 2-year-old Arctic ice with a thickness of up to 2.1 m in winter-spring and up to 3.1 m in summer-autumn; sailing through ice bridges in raids; sailing in the channel behind an icebreaker through 2-year-old Arctic ice of up to 3.4 m thick in winter-spring and without restrictions in long-term ice in summer-autumn - TASS).

Replacing imported products

The cargo-containing system's key equipment, including the cargo transport handling system, is either made in Russia already, including at Rosatom's enterprises, or the production could begin shortly, the company's representative added.

The project's modernized version, 10070M, may have a well-known steam-gas cycle with gas boilers along with a steam turbine system, which is similar to the one that currently is installed on serial nuclear-powered icebreakers. This way, the production will get mostly localized, since presently Russia does not produce standard dual-fuel diesel engines for this type of vessels, and most likely will not produce them in the next 10-12 years. A similar situation is with the propulsion and steering complex. To solve this problem, specialists have changed slightly the design so that a Russian-made complex could be installed there.

"Thus, the upgraded gas tanker almost completely will be assembled from Russian components. Although, unfortunately, certain commercial characteristics may decrease against the original project," he continued. Dual-fuel diesel generators are supplied internationally by W·rtsil· and MAN, which no longer work with the Russian Federation. Chinese licensed engines could be an alternative, but there is no guarantee China will be able to produce them in series.

Gas tanker building

It would be possible to speak about the gas tanker building only after the design and development works are completed. It is too early to quote specific dates, the company's representative said. As for the shipyard, where a vessel of such dimensions could be laid, he pointed to the Zvezda shipbuilding complex. This is the only shipyard of large-tonnage shipbuilding in Russia which is capable of building such vessels, he added. However, he stressed, first of all the vessel needs to have a formal customer. To date, a big ship owner and a few oil and gas companies have shown interest in the project.

Brief specification of Project 10070 LNG tanker

Length - 305 meters, width - 50 meters, LNG amount - about 170,000 cubic meters, maximum speed at sea - 21.3 knots (at 100% power).