Tanker with Russian gas for Boston makes mid-Atlantic U-turn

By Elena Mazneva and Anna Shiryaevskaya on 1/19/2018

MOSCOW and LONDON (Bloomberg) -- Three weeks after picking up a controversial cargo in the UK, a liquefied natural gas tanker made a U-turn one day before it was due to deliver it in Boston.

The Gaselys vessel that was due to arrive on the U.S. east coast on Saturday is now heading back toward Spain’s port of Algeciras near Gibraltar, and should get there next week, according to ship-tracking data compiled by Bloomberg. The vessel is carrying a cargo from storage tanks at a terminal near London, which earlier received the first fuel from the $27 billion Yamal LNG plant in Russia’s icy north.

The cargo was sent to Boston after the polar chill that gripped the U.S. northeast earlier this month, sending prices to records. The U.S. imposed sanctions against Russia last year after signs of meddling in the 2016 elections, tightening restrictions put in place when President Vladimir Putin invaded the Crimea almost four years ago.

While unusual, it’s not unheard of for LNG cargoes that aren’t tied into a contract with fixed destination to change course en route as cargo owners seek the highest price and the best market. Companies with access to wide global supplies can also swap shipments between regions.

Engie SA’s North American unit bought the spot cargo for delivery to the U.S. from Malaysia’s Petroliam Nasional to supplement its contracted volumes from Trinidad and Tobago into its Everett terminal near Boston, it said last week. Engie wasn’t immediately able to comment on the tanker movement Friday.

The Yamal LNG project, co-owned by Russia’s Novatek PJSC, Total SA, China Natural Petroleum Corp. and China’s Silk Road Fund, started production in December despite U.S. financial sanctions imposed in 2014 because of Russia’s involvement in the Ukrainian conflict. It plans to deliver 14 spot cargoes by April, when long-term contracts kick in.

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