State-run Qatar Petroleum could later this year confirm a part of LNG carrier contracts it has signed with Chinese and South Korean yards, following a decision on its expansion project.
The LNG colossus 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.
Shipbuilding sources told LNG Prime that QP is expected to confirm “three or four slots” at Hudong this year with more to follow at DSME, SHI, and KSOE in Korea.
The Korean confirmations would naturally be much higher than in China, but the sources expect the numbers to be “way below” the original announcement.
Unprecedented LNG expansion
QP’s last year shipbuilding reservations relate to the North Field East project which includes building four “mega trains” with a capacity of 8 million tonnes per year in the Ras Laffan complex.
The Qatari giant took the FID earlier this month, awarding the main contract to a joint venture consisting of Chiyoda and Technip, but also several other deals such as this week’s Saipem offshore contract.
This development could well be the largest-ever single LNG project in the history of the industry.
As for this phase of the expansion project, it will increase Qatar’s LNG production capacity from 77 to 110 mtpa.
In addition, Qatar Petroleum also aims to develop the second phase which would add 16 mtpa by 2027 while the firm has plans to boost Qatari capacity even further.
Qatar Petroleum’s unit Qatargas currently operates six mega LNG trains at Ras Laffan.
Most of these volumes go to worldwide destinations via Nakilat’s vessels. The world’s largest LNG shipper has a fleet consisting of up to 74 vessels, including the biggest carriers in the industry, Q-Max.