Shipping in the Gulf of Ob is paralysed and the situation complicated, icebreaker company Rosatomflot says.
It is late June, but the winter has not abandoned the Gulf of Ob. The shallow bay, which houses two of Russia’s biggest Arctic out-shipment terminals for oil and gas, remains packed with fast ice.
It has created a complicated situation, Rosatomflot says. The state company which manages the Russian nuclear-powered icebreakers, confirms that independent shipping in the area is «paralysed» and that LNG carriers and tankers are stuck.Possibly related:
The shipping companies had expected the Gulf of Ob to be free of ice in the course of June and that icebreaker assistance would not be necessary. They were wrong.
According to Rosatomflot, there appears to be a need for icebreaker services in the area at least until after the first week of July. There are currently two nuclear-powered icebreakers in the Gulf of Ob, the «Taymyr» and the «Vaygach». In addition, there are several smaller tugs and icebreakers working in the waters around the Sabetta port.
According to the icebreaker company, this is the first summer in four years that the Gulf of Ob is packed with this much ice.
«The global warming, which there has been so much talk about for such a long time, seems to have receded a little and we are returning to the standards of the 1980s and 1990s,» says company representative Andrey Smirnov.
The Yamal LNG plant is fully dependent on smooth shipping to and from the port of Sabetta. A fleet of 15 powerful top ice-class carriers are being built for the project. The ships are capable of independently breaking through more than two meter thick ice. Commercial shipments from Sabetta started in early December 2017.
Further south, company Gazprom Neft is operating the Novy Port project, which is built to be able to deliver up to eight million tons of oil per year. A fleet of six tankers are being built for the Novy Port....MORE
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Here are the sea ice thickness and volume measurements for the Summer Solstice 2018 and for the same date in 2008