China, Russia jointly launch Yamal LNG project in the Arctic. (Photo from eng.yidaiyilu.gov.cn)
Regarded as the “energy pearl” inside the Arctic Circle, the giant Yamal liquefied natural gas (LNG) project, jointly launched by China and Russia, began operation on Friday, December 8, 2017.
Located on the Yamal Peninsula, the Yamal LNG plant is the world's largest natural gas development, liquefaction, transportation, and sale project in the Arctic region, and is also the first large oversea energy project since the Belt and Road Initiative was proposed in 2013.
The project was developed by JSC Yamal LNG. Russia’s natural gas producer Novatek owns 50.1 percent stake in the company while French energy provider Total S.A. and China National Petroleum Corporation own 20 percent each. The China-proposed Silk Road Fund has signed an agreement to purchase 9.9 percent stake.
According to Xinhua News Agency, the 27-billion-US dollar Yamal LNG plant has been designed to start with a production capacity of 5.5 million tons per year. It’s expected to ultimately have three production lines by 2019 with a total capacity of 16.5 million tons of LNG per year. In the meantime, the three lines will supply 4 million tons of LNG to China every year, China Central Television reported.
As the important pivot of the so-called “Silk Road on Ice," the Yamal LNG project also opens a shortcut between the Asia Pacific and the Europe through the Arctic. Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said it might be able to achieve the transportation of LNG from Russia to Norway in just 17 days without icebreakers, and that the project will change the structure of the global energy transportation.