QatarEnergy selects Nakilat to operate up to 25 LNG carriers

State-run LNG giant QatarEnergy said it had 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 its massive shipbuilding program.

QatarEnergy said in a statement on Saturday this constitutes the first award in the second batch of long-term time charter parties under its “historic” LNG fleet expansion project.

The firm said the 25 vessels, each with a capacity of 174,000 cubic meters, will be owned 100 percent by Nakilat and chartered out to affiliates of QatarEnergy.

They are scheduled for construction at South Korean shipyards, it said.

Last year, QatarEnergy signed a deal for 17 LNG carriers worth about $3.9 billion with HD Hyundai Heavy, kicking off the second phase of the shipbuilding program.

Samsung Heavy Industries also recently secured a large order to build 15 LNG carriers for about $3.45 billion and these vessels are tied to the second phase of the program as well.

LNG Prime was also the first to report that QatarEnergy has signed a shipbuilding deal with China’s Hudong-Zhonghua for the construction of eight Q-Max LNG carriers as part of its shipbuilding program.

Image: QatarEnergy

More than 100 LNG carriers

In 2022, QatarEnergy signed a series of TCPs for the long-term charter and operation of 60 LNG ships, concluding the first phase of its program.

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

The shipbuilding program aims to support and meet future requirements of QatarEnergy’s North Field East and North Field South expansion projects, as well as the Golden Pass LNG project in the US.

The first phase of the North Field expansion project will increase Qatar’s LNG production capacity from 77 to 110 Mtpa, while the second phase will further boost capacity to 126 Mtpa.

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

Nakilat is the world’s largest LNG shipping firm in terms of capacity and its vessels transport LNG from QatarEnergy’s giant Ras Laffan LNG complex to clients around the globe.

The company’s fleet currently includes 24 conventional LNG carriers, 31 Q-Flex vessels (210,000-217,000 cbm), 14 Q-Max vessels (263,000-266,000 cbm), and also one FSRU.

Nakilat recently ordered two more LNG carriers as well.

Qatar’s energy minister and chief executive of QatarEnergy, Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi, welcomed this new partnership with Nakilat, which “reflects our confidence in Qatar’s flagship LNG shipping and maritime company.”

“We are equally proud to see this LNG transportation champion compete as part of a global tender and be able to win on a purely competitive basis,” he said.

“QatarEnergy is moving firmly in building its future LNG fleet, expected to be in excess of one hundred vessels. We look forward to announcing the names of additional successful bidders in the near future,” Al-Kaabi said.

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