MOSCOW, Dec. 6 (UPI) -- Russian energy company Gazprom announced it completed its first shipment of liquefied natural gas through its Northern Sea Route.
Gazprom said it was able to make an LNG delivery from the Hammerfest port in Norway to a regasification terminal in Port Tobata, Japan. The company said the voyage was relatively ice-free save for portions of the Bering Strait where ice was about 11 inches thick.
"The voyage was accomplished safely and fully in accordance with schedule," the company said in a statement.
Gazprom said it would be able to use icebreakers to support northern shipping for about three months out of the year. The northern shipping route, the company said, cuts conventional maritime delivery times nearly 40 percent.
Meanwhile, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin warned that Russia may lose its resource wealth should its claims to parts of the arctic region be denied.
It is extremely important for us to stake out our claims, define the perimeter of our national interests in this region," he was quoted by Russian news agency RIA Novosti as saying. "If we don't do that we will lose the battle for resources and therefore will lose the big battle for the right to have our own sovereignty and independence."