Russia delivers first LNG to China via Arctic – Reuters

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The Northern Sea Route shortens transportation times to Asia’s biggest economy by 30%

Russian energy major Gazprom delivered its first cargo of liquefied natural gas (LNG) via the Northern Sea Route (NSR) to China on Thursday, Reuters reported, citing the LSEG financial information company, as Moscow wants to expand using the Arctic corridor in the face of Western sanctions.

The Velikiy Novgorod tanker, loaded with LNG from the Portovaya LNG plant in the Baltic Sea, set sail to China on August 14, according to data. It has now arrived at the terminal of Tangshan Caofeidian in the Hebei province.

Russia wants the NSR – which runs through the Arctic Ocean off the country’s northern coastline and is the shortest shipping route between East Asia and Europe – to become a major shipping lane, and is investing heavily in its infrastructure.

The NSR, which Moscow has touted as an alternative to the Suez Canal, is already a full-fledged international artery and can be considered a global transportation corridor, according to Aleksey Chekunkov, the country’s minister for the development of the Far East and the Arctic.

Speaking to RT at the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok on Wednesday, he said that a large part of the global economy depended on the NSR.

“All the countries that receive our liquefied natural gas, including those that are currently deemed ‘unfriendly’ … The intensity of shipping will increase many times in the next seven years,” the minister stated.

Although the route through the Arctic waters is challenging, using it could shorten the voyage by as much as two weeks, or by about 30%, compared to the southern route through the Mediterranean and the Suez Canal.

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