State-owned Qatar Petroleum has issued an invitation to tender to shipowners as it looks to secure LNG carrier charters for its future requirements, including its ongoing expansion projects in the North Field.
The LNG giant said on Saturday it issued the package to a “large group of LNG shipowners”, as it aims to select “world-class” firms for the long-term time charter of carriers to satisfy the future requirements of QP and its units.
In addition to the North Field expansion project, the tender package also covers vessels that would ship volumes from the Golden Pass LNG export project in the United States.
Furthermore, the package includes options to replace time charters for a number of Qatar’s LNG carriers that will expire in the next few years, QP said.
Upon receiving the responses to the tender, QP will “review bidders’ technical and commercial capabilities with the objective of assigning selected shipowners to the shipyards’ construction slots, which were previously reserved at a number of Chinese and Korean shipyards,” it said.
QP said it has entrusted its unit Qatargas with the management of this shipowner selection program on its behalf.
Qatargas currently charters a fleet of 45 Q-Flex and Q-Max carriers from Nakilat, the world’s largest LNG shipper, to transport volumes from the giant Ras Laffan complex.
World’s largest LNG carrier project
QP revealed in April last year a deal worth about $3 billion to reserve slots for up to sixteen 174,000 cubic meter carriers at Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding to cater for its giant LNG expansion projects in Qatar.
Following this contract, QP said it had signed deals with South Korea’s biggest three shipbuilders to secure up to 100 vessels worth about $19.2 billion in what could be the largest LNG shipbuilding project the world has ever seen.
Moreover, the new tender comes just weeks after QP’s final investment decision and the contract awards for its giant LNG expansion project.
Under the North Field East project, QP will build four “mega trains” with a capacity of 8 million tonnes per year in the Ras Laffan complex.
This first phase of the expansion project will increase Qatar’s LNG production capacity from 77 to 110 mtpa. QP also plans a second phase to further boost capacity to total 126 mtpa by 2027.
QP’s unit Qatargas already operates fourteen LNG trains at Ras Laffan.