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SABETTA, Russia: April 11, 2017. The world's first ice-breaking LNG tanker, named after former Total head Christophe de Margerie, has berthed at Russia's Sabetta Port in the north-east of the country's Yamal Peninsula following sea trials.

Christophe de Margerie 2The vessel is the first of 15 similar vessels to serve Russia's Yamal project that will export liquefied natural gas from the country's South-Tambeyskoye gas field to European and Asian markets year round via the Northern Sea Route. Shipments are expected to begin before the end of this year.

Russia president Vladimir Putin commented: "The arrival of this new tanker, designed for Arctic conditions, is a big event in Arctic development, as is the construction of the port of Sabetta. The port was built entirely from scratch," he added.

Christophe de Margerie is an Arc7 ice class capable of sailing independently through ice up to 2.1 meters thick. The ship can operate along the Northern Sea Route westward from Sabetta year-round and eastward from July to December.

Built by Daewoo Shipbuilding Marine Engineering, the 299-meter, 129,000 gross deadweight vessel can carry 172,600 cubic meters of LNG, enough to supply Sweden with gas for almost four weeks.

Tatyana Shorokhova, GAC Russia's general manager, said the arrival of the first LNG carrier at Sabetta was an important milestone, for the country. "We believe that this is the start of a new era for Sabetta, and we look to forward with confidence to the part that we will play in that future."

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