Naming ceremony for unique icebreaking LNG
The naming ceremony for the world’s first icebreaking liquefied natural gas (LNG) tanker took place on 3 June 2017. The event was held in Port Bronka (St. Petersburg) as part of the XXI St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, and was attended by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The tanker has been built to order for SCF Group to provide year-round transportation for LNG in the difficult ice conditions of the Kara Sea and Gulf of Ob (Yamal LNG project). Christophe de Margerie was commissioned by Sovcomflot on 27 March 2017 following her successful ice trials in the Arctic Ocean.
The LNG carrier was named after Christophe de Margerie, the former CEO of Total, who had played a key role in developing investment decisions and a technological basis for the Yamal LNG project. He had also made a major contribution to the development of Russo-French economic relations in general. The vessel’s godmother was Valentina Matvienko, Chairperson of the Russian Federation Council. Speaking at the ceremony, she said: “I name this vessel Christophe de Margerie and wish her, her crew and all Sovcomflot seafarers success and accident-free operations. Seven feet under the keel!”
Guests of honour at the ceremony included family members of Christophe de Margerie: his widow Bernadette de Margerie; his brother Jean-Marc de Margerie, and others.
The event was also attended by: Russian Minister of Transport Maxim Sokolov; Russian Minister of Economic Development Maxim Oreshkin; St. Petersburg’s Governor Georgy Poltavchenko; Chairman of the Management Board of PAO Novatek Leonid Mikhelson; President of Total Patrick Pouyanne; President and Chairman of the Management Board of VTB Bank Andrei Kostin; President and CEO of PAO Sovcomflot Sergey Frank, as well as representatives of the diplomatic missions of France, China and the Republic of Korea, the Yamal LNG company, CNPC, Silk Road Foundation, and others.
Speaking at the vessel’s naming ceremony, Russian President Vladimir Putin said:
“I am extremely glad to welcome you at today’s solemn ceremony dedicated to the naming of Sovcomflot’s new Arctic LNG carrier. After successfully going through ice testing in March, the tanker has made her first call at the Russian port of Sabetta in the North. From now on, this modern vessel will bear the name of Christophe de Margerie, a French entrepreneur and a real, big friend of our country of Russia.
“He possessed a unique strategic vision and did so much to strengthen friendly, partnership relations with Russia, while being the driving force behind the implementation of a range of large joint energy projects. Naming the ship in his honour serves as another symbol of our sincere and kind disposition to this outstanding man, and as a commemoration of his memory.”
In his words of welcome, Jean-Marc de Margerie noted:
“This supertanker is honouring Christophe de Margerie, his special friendship with Russia and honouring his strong love of the sea. We, the family of Christophe de Margerie, see the naming of this tanker as a very special way that you have found to show us how much you care about Christophe as we too care about him. So we should like just to say thank you for that and wish a long life to this supership. God bless the ship, God bless her crew!”
In his speech, Patrick Pouyanne said:
“This ceremony is a deep emotion for us, because it reminds us all what Christophe did for Total and for our partnership with Russia. He forged a strong relationship, with passion and honesty. He believed in the success of the Yamal LNG project and this vessel is a symbol of the reality of this project. I’m sure that Christophe would have been very proud of what we have achieved today.”