The US is increasing its list of sanctions on Russia to include independent gas producer Novatek’s newest export facilities, Gazprom subsidiaries and building contractor Velesstroy.

The US Department of the Treasury’s enlarged list now includes Arctic Transshipment, a Novatek-led joint venture with France’s TotalEnergies, which holds a 10% interest, and its executive director Yuri Safyanov.

Arctic Transshipment will operate two LNG floating storage units, known as Saam and Koryak, that are stationed near the Barents port of Murmansk in the north of Russia and the Kamchatka Peninsula in the far east.

The sanctions have been imposed to halt the increasing flow of Russia’s liquefied natural gas to Europe, and are in response to continued Russian aggression in Ukraine.

The FSUs have been sanctioned directly, according to the Department of the Treasury, with US companies prohibited from serving the operator and the units.

Novatek expects the Saam FSU to begin taking LNG cargoes from the Yamal LNG project this month, with the Koryak FSU coming online in October.

Both FSUs will offload LNG from specialised ice-class carriers, capable of moving independently in Arctic conditions, to free them for return to pick up a next cargo at Yamal LNG.

Stored LNG will be then loaded onto ordinary LNG carriers that Novatek anticipates will be chartered by European customers to collect cargoes from the Saam and Koryak FSUs.

Other companies sanctioned

The US has also sanctioned top Russian oil and gas industry building contractor Velesstroy.

Velesstroy has contracts to build facilities for Novatek’s next LNG project, Arctic LNG 2, on the Gydan Peninsula in West Siberia and at Novatek’s specialist yard near Murmansk where it will build the second and third trains for Arctic LNG 2.

Arctic LNG 2’s first train, installed on concrete gravity based foundation, is already near the shore of the Gydan Peninsula.

Velesstroy has been also working for Russian gas giant Gazprom and also for Caspian Pipeline Consortium that operates an oil pipeline linking Kazakhstan with a major export terminal near the Russian Black Sea port of Novorossiysk.

Also on the sanctions list is a specialist engineering firm established in the United Arab Emirates to provide engineering services to Novatek and Arctic LNG 2 after the withdrawal of major international contractors in 2022.

Besides Novatek, the Treasury also slammed restrictions on dealing with two of Gazprom’s subsidiaries — its exploration unit Gazprom Nedra and its largest construction unit, Gazstroyprom.

At the weekend, Japan’s Mitsui said it is committed to complying with fresh US sanctions related to Arctic LNG 2, in which it holds a 10% stake.

“We are aware of the additional US sanctions and we remain committed to complying with international sanctions,” Mitsui told Reuters, adding it was in touch with its project partners, the Japanese government and other parties “to discuss next steps”.

Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said at a press conference in Tokyo, “In co-operation with the G7 including the US, we will make a comprehensive judgement and take appropriate measures to make sure the stable supply of energy to Japan”.