The keel-laying ceremony for Chaika LNG, the first passenger ship in Russia to be powered by LNG, was held at the shipyard of Zelenodolsk Plant named after A.M. Gorky in Zelenodolsk, Republic of Tatarstan. The leisure and sightseeing boat is intended for passenger voyages, including via tourist routes. The vessel, which can accommodate at least 170 people, is expected to be launched as early as this year.
The event was attended by a Gazprom delegation headed by Vyacheslav Mikhalenko, Member of the Management Committee; Rustam Minnikhanov, President of the Republic of Tatarstan; and Yury Kostin, Director of the Department of State Policy for Maritime and River Transport at the Ministry of Transport of the Russian Federation, among other authorities.
The use of LNG in river and maritime transport is a new segment of the natural gas powered mobility market. Today, LNG is the most promising fuel for waterborne transport and the most affordable alternative to bunker fuel oil and diesel fuel.
Moreover, the Republic of Tatarstan offers a unique location from a logistics standpoint, and it has robust transport potential in terms of cutting-edge industrial technologies. It is planned that the region will produce LNG-powered tourist ships and Gazprom will be responsible for refueling said ships.
Mikhalenko and Minnikhanov also held a meeting in Zelenodolsk on the development of the natural gas refueling network in the Republic of Tatarstan. It was noted that the number of refueling units in the region has doubled to 20 since 2016, including the CNG station built in Almetyevsk in late 2019. The amount of natural gas consumed as a vehicle fuel is growing in Tatarstan: in 2019, consumer sales of gas went up by 39% from 2018 and by 70% from 2017.
This year, Gazprom plans to build two new CNG stations in Zainsk and Nurlat, as well as to renovate and upgrade a CNG station in Buinsk. The company is considering the possibility of constructing a number of other refueling units in Tatarstan. Meanwhile, efforts are underway to set up infrastructure for LNG production and refueling of road and waterborne transport.