June 5 (UPI) -- The Kremlin said it was honoring the legacy of a former head of French energy company Total during a steering ceremony for Arctic liquefied natural gas.
Total CEO Patrick Pouyanne joined Russian Cabinet officials for a ceremony naming a tanker designated for Arctic LNG after former Total CEO Christophe de Margerie, who died in a plane crash in Moscow in 2014.
The Christophe de Margerie vessel is designated for around-the-clock transportation of LNG from port facilities in the far-north Kara Sea tied to Russia's gas facility at the Yamal Peninsula.
In a weekend statement, the Kremlin said the flagship de Margerie vessel is part of a fleet of 15 others tapped for harsh environments.
Total in 2012 signed a deal with a Russian energy company Novatek to develop the LNG project on the Yamal Peninsula. Total through the deal gained access to the 800 million barrels of oil equivalent available in the South Tambey field in the arctic area and the resources associated with that field allow for the production of more than 15 million tons of LNG per year.
Liquefied natural gas offers more flexibility in terms of deliverability when compared with conventional natural gas, which is bound to transnational pipelines. In February, Royal Dutch Shell said in an annual review that LNG demand is on pace to grow at twice the rate of conventional gas, or between 4 percent and 5 percent per year through 2030.
De Margerie and three French crewmembers of a private business jet died when their plane struck a snowplow during takeoff for Paris from a Moscow airport in 2014. Russian President Vladimir Putin offered his condolences to the French government over the incident, describing de Margerie as a pioneer who helped steer major developments in the Russian energy sector.