SmartPlanet: Russia Slams Open Arctic Route to Japan

SmartPlanet

smartplanet logoThe shortest route: Russia ships gas to Japan via Arctic

By Mark Halper | December 20, 2012, 4:29 AM PST

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Want to ship some liquefied natural gas to Japan from somewhere up north, but don’t fancy taking the circuitous southern route through Panama or the Suez? Try heading through the Arctic. But first, get yourself a good nuclear powered icebreaker.

That’s what Russia’s Gazprom did a few weeks ago.

It lined up two of the country’s atomic icebreakers to escort an LNG carrier from Norway’s port of Hammerfest to a gas terminal in Tobata, Japan.

The flotilla slammed right through the Northern Sea Route that connects the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans along the Siberian coastline, heading down through the Berring Strait.

“This strategic route reduces trip time from northern Europe to northeast Asia (by) almost 40 percent comparing with routes via the southern seas and oceans,” Gazprom’s website states.

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