Gazprom Neft has announced the launch of the Shturman (Navigator) Albanov, the first of six Arc7-class tankers built to ensure year-round oil transportation from the Novoportovskoye field.
The vessel’s total cargo capacity is approximately 38,000 tonnes of oil — more than twice the Arc5-class tankers currently in use. The vessel has been designed for the climatic conditions of the Arctic and the shallow waters of the Gulf of Ob. The maximum draught of the new tanker in freshwater totals 9.5 metres. The vessel’s width and length, moreover, match those of tankers with a loading capacity twice as high.
In contrast to Arc5-class tankers, the Shturman Albanov can move along channels previously cut by nuclear icebreakers. The hull of the tanker has been built with high-tensile tempered steel, with extra-thick walls. The vessel is equipped with bow-loading equipment, allowing it to be anchored to receive oil from Vorota Arktiki (the Arctic Gate) terminal.
Unaccompanied by an icebreaker the vessel can, independently, negotiate ice up to 1.8 metres thick at its stern, and up to 1.4 metres thick at the bow. The tanker is equipped with a steerable propulsion unit, able to perform a 360-turn on its axis, giving it additional manoeuvrability in moving both forward and aft.
The vessel is named in honour of the navigator of the Brusilov polar expedition aboard the Svyataya (St) Anna gunvessel.
Anatoly Cherner, Gazprom Neft Deputy CEO for Logistics, Processing and Sales, commented: “The Arc7-class tankers now being built are unsurpassed in Russia: their loading capacity is twice that of tankers currently in use, they are specifically designed for the conditions of the Gulf of Ob, and can independently navigate pre-cut ice channels. This cuts return-trip lead times and improves the overall logistical efficiency of Gazprom Neft’s operations in the Arctic. Once all six tankers have been brought into operation they will be able to transport about 450,000 tonnes of oil per month, allowing us to despatch up to 5.5 million tonnes of oil from the Novoportovskoye field every year.”