Despite US sanctions, tanker with Russian LNG arrives in the US

A tanker carrying liquefied natural gas from a sanctioned project in Russia's Arctic has arrived in Boston Harbour, where it will be offloaded for users in the US.

The giant tanker will deliver the first LNG exported by the Yamal facility, a $27-billion project with, the Russian company Novatek. Last evening the tanker was in the Mystic River at an LNG terminal, where the liquefied cargo will be turned back into gas form and distributed to gas companies and electric power utilities.

The treasury department issued sanctions against Russia to weaken the country's energy sector in July 2014, after Russia annexed Crimea and backed separatists in eastern Ukraine. Under the sanctions, financing for Novatek, Russia's largest independent project, is barred.

However, US treasury sanctions do not prohibit the purchase of natural gas from Yamal, according to experts on US sanctions who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they are not authorised to speak for the US government, The Washington Post reported.

According to commentators, a chill spell in New England coupled with the shortage of pipeline capacity from gas-rich Pennsylvania have created an appetite for natural gas imports even as the US has started exporting LNG from other terminals on the Gulf Coast.

''It is expected to be in the port over the weekend,'' Luke Pinneo, chief petty officer at the US Coast Guard in Boston, was quoted as telling the media.

He added that the delay in bringing the ship into the harbour ''is not unusual.''

Inspections could last for three days, depending on the time line for getting a Coast Guard boat with a boarding team to it and the specific safety concerns being addressed, he said.