According to the data, the Velikiy Novgorod tanker was loaded with LNG from the Portovaya LNG plant on Aug. 14. As of Tuesday, it was moving in the Barents Sea in the Arctic. The final destination for the cargo has not been disclosed.

Earlier this month, Russia also shipped a rare naphta cargo via the North Sea route, according to traders and Refinitiv data.

Russia has long viewed the route, which runs from Murmansk near Russia's border with Norway eastwards to the Bering Strait near Alaska, as an alternative to the Suez Canal.

Although the route is physically challenging, it could cut sea transport times between Europe and Asia at a time when Russia's trade with Western countries is at post-Cold War lows following Moscow's decision to send troops into Ukraine.

The Portovaya LNG with annual output capacity of 1.5 million tons started production last September. LNG cargoes from the plant had so far been shipped only to Turkey or Greece.

Gazprom has not replied to a request for comment.

(Reporting by Oksana Kobzeva; writing by Vladimir Soldatkin; Editing by Tomasz Janowski)