QatarEnergy plans to book more giant LNG carriers in China

State-owned LNG giant QatarEnergy is looking to order more Q-Max LNG carriers in China as part of its massive shipbuilding program, according to shipbuilding sources.

LNG Prime was the first to report in January this year that QatarEnergy signed a shipbuilding deal with China’s Hudong-Zhonghua for the construction of eight Q-Max type LNG carriers.

The giant vessels will have a capacity of 271,000 cubic meters and are scheduled to be delivered in 2028 and 2029.

Currently, the world’s largest LNG carriers are Qatar’s Q-Max vessels that are about 345 meters long and have a capacity of 263,000-266,000 cbm.

Qatar’s Nakilat owns 14 Q-Max LNG carriers built by Hanwha Ocean (DSME) and Samsung Heavy between 2008 and 2010, and they all transport LNG from the giant Ras Laffan LNG complex in Qatar to customers around the globe.

Up to 10 Q-Max vessels

Prior to the order in China, LNG Prime reported in September last year that QatarEnergy was looking to order about 15 Q-Max LNG carriers in China and South Korea.

However, it seems that QatarEnergy has ended talks in South Korea and is now working to sign a deal for more Q-Max vessels in China.

Sources said that QatarEnergy is interested to book up to ten such vessels at Hudong-Zhonghua, but the deal has not been signed yet.

According to the sources, the contract is expected to be finalized later this year.

The price tag of these vessels was not revealed.

They each could be worth about $330 million. This means that the price tag for the first eight vessels could reach about $2.6 billion and the second order could be worth up to $3.3 billion.

As per the design, in September last year Hudong-Zhonghua received approvals in principle from classification societies for what it said is the world’s largest LNG carrier.

According to the shipbuilder, the 271,000-cbm LNG carrier is 344 meters long, 53.6 meters wide, and has a design draft of 12 meters.

It features dual-fuel propulsion, a reliquefaction system, an air lubrication system, and GTT’s NO96 Super+ containment tech. The vessel has five storage tanks.

Shipbuilding program includes more than 100 vessels

QatarEnergy previously entered into deals with Hudong-Zhonghua and South Korea’s three shipbuilders to reserve LNG shipbuilding slots for its giant shipbuilding program which includes the construction of more than 100 vessels.

After that, QatarEnergy signed in 2022 a series of time charter deals for the long-term charter and operation of 60 conventional-size LNG ships, concluding the first phase of its program.

The vessels will be built at South Korea’s three shipbuilders HD HHI, SHI, and Hanwha Ocean, and Hudong-Zhonghua.

QatarEnergy kicked off the second stage of the program last year with a deal for 17 LNG carriers worth about $3.9 billion with HD Hyundai Heavy.

Samsung Heavy Industries also recently secured a large order to build 15 LNG carriers for about $3.45 billion, while QatarEnergy selected compatriot shipping firm Nakilat to be the owner and operator of up to 25 conventional-size LNG carriers as part of the second phase of the program.

QatarEnergy’s shipbuilding program aims to support and meet future requirements of its North Field East and North Field South expansion projects which will increase Qatar’s production to 126 mtpa, as well as the Golden Pass LNG project in the US.

In addition, part of the program is intended to cater for replacement requirements of the existing Qatar LNG fleet.

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