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CURRENT ISSUE

ARM MERCHANT SHIPS?
Should merchant ships transiting high risk areas carry small arms for defense against pirates?

Selected crew should be trained and have guns available
Professional armed security teams should be hired
No guns on merchant ships, ever

July 9, 2009

Gazprom plans to build LNG tankers at Russian yard

Russia's Gazprom PLC is considering building two LNG tankers at the Severnaya Verf shipyard in St. Petersburg.

Now part of the United Industrial Corporation (OPK), Severnaya Verf (St. Petersburg's Northern Shipyard) has a history stretching back to 1912. Like other Russian yards it has an extensive background in warship construction--but also has some commercial ship experience. Among current projects, for example is a Vik-Sandvik design VS 470 PSV offshore support vessels for a Norwegian company.

Though OSV construction to LNG ships may seem quite a leap, Severnaya Verf will be getting a helping hand from South Korea's Samsung Heavy Industries Co., Ltd.

United Industrial Corporation (OPK) and Samsung signed a memorandum for mutual business cooperation last month. The main subject of the memorandum is a cooperation to create a new shipbuilding complex at Severnaya Verf, with a strong focus on meeting Gazprom's needs for a variety of ships--including very large ones.

Alexander Ananenkov, vice-president of Gazprom PLC, said the two LNG carriers are needed to transport liquefied natural gas from the Shtockmann gas field) and that Severnaya Verf is the only enterprise in Russia with the ability to build such vessels.

"Gazprom will prepare contracts to start the construction the first vessels. The details for the tender on the construction of the two vessels will be drawn up during the fourth quarter of 2009 The tender will then be formal," said Mr. Ananenkov.

In addition to the LNG ships, said Mr. Ananenkov, Gazprom also has a requirement to construct 10 platforms, as well as 80 vessels to serve those platforms. According to him, another St. Petersburg yard covered by the agreement with Samsung, the Baltiysky plant, also a part of OPK, also has a great chance of securing an order.


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