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Keppel Singmarine first Asian yard to build icebreakers

Keppel Singmarine first Asian yard to build icebreakers

Singapore: Keppel Singmarine today conducted a naming ceremony for Asia's first two icebreakers, built for owner LUKOIL-Kaliningradmorneft. The vessels, named Varandey (pictured) and Toboy, have both been classed by the Russian Maritime Register of Shipping. They are designed to work in the harshest environments, cutting through solid ice over 1.7m thick, equivalent to the height of a grown man, and operating in extreme temperatures as low as -45oC.

"This is the first time that icebreakers meant for the Arctic region are built in the tropics," said Charles Foo, Keppel Singmarine. "It also marks Keppel Singmarine's entry into the flourishing oil and gas market in the Arctic region. The increasing oil and gas exploration and production activities in the Arctic present tremendous opportunities for specialised and robust vessels such as the icebreaking vessels."

"This is a milestone for Keppel especially since we had secured the contract amidst strong competition from European yards, which have a long tradition in and strong infrastructure of related arctic technology," he added.

The vessels will be deployed to the Barents Sea of Russia where they will help forge passages through the ice for oil tankers plying the Varandey Terminal.

According to the latest United States Geological Survey, it is estimated that the Arctic may hold as much as 90bn barrels of undiscovered oil reserves and 1,670 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. This is equivalent to as much as 13% and 30% of the world's total undiscovered oil and natural gas respectively.  [03/11/08]