Russia may be building a “shadow fleet” for gas transportation, Bloomberg

By Andrew Blackman - June 28, 2024 The Independent Barents Observer
8

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the economy of Russia have been hit with multiple European and US sanctions. 

Earlier this June European Union adopted a 14th package of economic and individual restrictive measures dealing “a further blow to Putin’s regime and those who perpetuate his illegal, unprovoked, and unjustified war of aggression against Ukraine”. 

After the European trade has almost been cut off, for Russia it has become essential to find new markets and routes.  

The US news outlet Bloomberg reports, that in the last three months, according to global shipping database Equasis, at least eight vessels have been taken over by little-known firms in Dubai. Four of these – North Air, North Mountain, North Sky, and North Way – are tankers that received permission from Moscow to sail in the waters of the Northern Sea Route (NSR) this summer.

Bloomberg noted that it has been unable to directly link these vessels to major Russian entities, but, according to the publication, the details are strikingly similar to maneuvers to create a shadow oil fleet. 

Journalists spoke to the founder of the American Arctic Institute, Malte Humpert, who said that several signs point to the Kremlin’s efforts to create a shadow fleet, including the transfer of the tankers to a Dubai company, the purchase of old ships and the issuance of a record number of permits along the Northern Sea Route. 

Most of the Russian LNG plants are located in the Arctic region. Yamal LNG, for example, is one of the major ones.