Russia is preparing to purchase two large and very powerful LNG-powered icebreakers for the Northern Searoute.

Aker Arctic is trusting in LNG in northern waters

Design company Aker Arctic’s strength is its ice laboratory, which is unique on a global scale. Thanks to the Helsinki ice basin, the company has extensive experience designing icebreakers and specialist vessels that sail through ice.

According to Reko-Antti Suojanen, the company’s CEO, one upcoming trend is the growing importance of LNG in Arctic waters.

“In northern waters, there is already more gas exploration than oil exploration. The number of gas shipments in icy waters is increasing, along with the use of LNG as a fuel for vessels,” Suojanen says, describing the changes underway in seafaring related to environmental and energy needs.

Aker Arctic Technologies is well prepared for these trends. Firstly, the majority of the world’s icebreakers are built in Finland, and the company has been involved in designing them. Secondly, Russia and the USA are designing new polar icebreakers, and Aker Arctic has ready-to-go concepts for both.

“Russia is replacing its 40 MW nuclear icebreakers, Taymyr and Vaygach, which were built at the end of the 1980s in Helsinki for Rosatomflot. Russia is preparing to purchase two large, LNG-powered icebreakers,” Suojanen says, adding that the vessels could even be built at USC’s shipyard in Helsinki.

“The new icebreakers are approximately 160 meters long and 31 meters wide. They will have very powerful engines and large fuel tanks. Previously, it was not possible to bunker LNG in northern waters, but the situation has turned on its head since the Sabetta terminal opened on the Yamal Peninsula,” Suojanen says of the fuel solutions available.

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