Work starts on first Korean LNG carrier as part of QatarEnergy’s fleet expansion project

LNG giant QatarEnergy celebrated the steel cutting of the first of its new generation of chartered LNG carriers to be constructed in a South Korean shipyard.

QatarEnergy said in a statement on Saturday it has joined Samsung Heavy Industries and JP Morgan Asset Management in a special ceremony in Geoje to celebrate this milestone, which is part of QatarEnergy’s giant LNG fleet expansion project.

This event follows the October 2022 successful initiation of steel cutting at China’s Hudong-Zhonghua, it said.

Back in 2020, QatarEnergy reserved slots with three Korean shipyards, inlduing Samsung Heavy, Hyundai Heavy Industries, and Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering, now Hanwha Ocean.

Subsequently, in 2022, QatarEnergy signed multiple time charter parties with various shipowners, including affiliates of JP Morgan Asset Management, a fund investing in a wide array of transportation assets, it said.

Including orders at South Korea’s three shipbuilders and Hudong-Zhonghua, QatarEnergy concluded construction contracts and long-term time charter agreements for 60 LNG carriers last year.

QatarEnergy expects the number to grow to more than 100 LNG carriers in the future, it previously said.

The firm is expected to start awarding new contracts later this year.

QatarEnergy and its unit Qatargas are working on two giant LNG expansion projects.

Together, NFE and NFS form the wider North Field Expansion project to increase LNG production from the North Field, adding about 48 mtpa to Qatar’s export capacity and bringing it to 126 mtpa.

Qatargas currently has an LNG production capacity of about 77 mtpa in the giant Ras Laffan complex.

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