Novatek’s final Yamal LNG train comes online

The fourth train, which uses Novatek's own newly developed technology, is more than year behind schedule.

By Atle Staalesen, The Independent Barents Observer - June 3, 2021
The Yamal LNG project in Sabetta, on Russia’s Yamal Peninsula. (Atle Staalesen / The Independent Barents Observer)

The Russian natural gas company Novatek experienced extensive technical troubles with its final train of the Yamal LNG, according to newspaper Kommersant, but those problems have now been overcome and the plant is operating at full capacity.

It was originally to be up and running in late 2019.

The final plant has an annual production capacity of 0.95 million tons of LNG, about five times less that the first three trains.

According to Kommersant, the Yamal LNG project now has a total capacity of almost 20 million tons per year.

Novatek leader Leonid Mikhelson has long admitted that the delays with the last plant were connected with its domestic-made technology. The so-called Arctic Cascade technology has been developed and patented by Novatek itself and was originally planned to be used in several more projects.

Mikhelson in February this year underlined that the fourth train of the Yamal LNG includes “a series of completely new units of key equipment.”

“Therefore, the process of setup and testing of the systems has taken far more time than with standard equipment,” he told Kommersant.

The tech trouble might ultimately lead to a revision of Novatek’s future plans.

The company has already signalled that its Ob LNG, a project that is due to come into production in 2025, will not apply the Arctic Cascade technology as planned.

Instead, the project might be developed to produce ammonia.