Following up on yesterday's post, Gazprom has Russian independent Novatek already exporting stable gas concentrate to China.
What's notable is not only the company nor the customer but the route:
Moscow, 6 September 2010. OAO NOVATEK (“NOVATEK” and/or the “Company) has announced today the successful delivery of a consignment of its stable gas condensate to China National Offshore Oil Company (CNOOC) via the Arctic Ocean’s Northern Sea Route.
The cargo of stable gas condensate, produced at NOVATEK’s Purovsky Gas Condensate Stabilization Plant, traveled from Russia’s Murmansk Port to China’s Ningbo Port in 22 days, approximately half the time required by the traditional shipping route through the Suez Canal.
The success of the first high-tonnage shipment, combined with the significantly reduced delivery time, demonstrates the possibility for future trade with China and other countries of the Asian-Pacific region using the Northern Sea Route as well as providing additional logistical options for developing hydrocarbon fields on the Yamal peninsula and arctic shelf.
An Aframax class tanker from Russian shipbuilder and operator, OAO Sovcomflot, was used to transport the stable gas condensate via the Northern Sea Route with icebreaking support provided by the Russian Federation’s, Atomflot.
But what is gas condensate ?And for that, we'll have to say that it is not LNG, or CNG, or even LPG. It's most likely some portion of gas used more for chemical feedstock than energy use, but the expertise on this is clear as mud. Of course it could be Yamal to China LNG in 22 days, but you have to ask yourself again, what would be the point? Although if the alternative is for a company like Novatek to simply flare off associated gas from oil production, then it starts to make sense.
China can have all it can eat from Australia, 5 days tops away, and has had Gazprom gas from Sakhalin recently as well, and 22 days is still almost double a Qatari voyage.
So an interesting choice of supplier, customer and route that probably indicates something important to watch for in the future. Although what that might be is yet to be learned.