Russian energy giant Gazprom said Friday it has made the first delivery of liquefied natural gas to China via the Arctic Northern Sea Route as receding ice sheets render the route more viable.
Moscow hopes the route will help increase oil and gas deliveries to Asia at a time when its traditional European clients are dramatically scaling back their energy dependence on Russia amid the war in Ukraine.
"Gazprom has for the first time delivered its own LNG production along the Northern Sea Route," the company said in a statement.
The Arctic route cuts down the duration of shipments by more than a week compared with using the Suez Canal in Egypt.
Gazprom said LNG carrier Velikiy Novgorod, which left the LNG terminal at Portovaya outside the western city of St. Petersburg on Aug.14, finished discharging its cargo Friday at the northeastern Chinese port of Tangshan in Hebei province.
Private group Novatek, the number two natural gas producer in Russia after Gazprom, used the same route to deliver to China in 2018.
The route "allows a substantial reduction in the time it takes to make LNG deliveries to Asia-Pacific countries," Gazprom stated.
With Russia hit by Western sanctions over its invasion of neighboring Ukraine, Gazprom, a pillar of the national economy, wants to maintain the same volume of LNG deliveries after a slump in the European market.
Gazprom's net profit fell eightfold in the first half of the year to $3 billion.