QatarEnergy to take delivery of first LNG carrier of its massive shipbuilding program

China’s Hudong-Zhonghua is nearing completion of the first liquefied natural gas (LNG) carrier which is being built as part of QatarEnergy’s massive shipbuilding program.

According to a statement by Hudong-Zhonghua, the LNG carrier Rex Tillerson (H1790A) left the dock at China’s Huarun Dadong yard on May 9 after the bottom of the ship was sprayed with silicone-based anti-fouling paint.

This paint is a new generation of anti-fouling paint for ships with better environmental protection, drag reduction, and energy-saving effects, and is mainly used for underwater parts of the hull, the shipbuilder said.

Hudong-Zhonghua did not provide any details of the LNG carrier or when it expects to deliver the vessel.

The shipbuilder launched this LNG carrier in October last year saying this is the first 174,000-cbm vessel it will build for Japan’s MOL and China’s Cosco Shipping Energy Transportation.

In April 2022, QatarEnergy signed charter deals for four LNG carriers with MOL, completing the first batch of charter contracts awarded under its massive shipbuilding program.

QatarEnergy said in a statement in February this year that it has named the first LNG carrier to be delivered as part of its new LNG fleet expansion program Rex Tillerson in recognition of the former chairman and CEO of US energy giant ExxonMobil), who also served as the 69th US Secretary of State.

The firm said that the LNG carrier is expected to be put in service in September 2024 and is currently under construction at Hudong-Zhonghua as part of a 12-ship construction program that makes up the first batch of orders from China in QatarEnergy’s shipbuilding program.

Giant LNG carriers

Last week, QatarEnergy signed a time charter and operation agreement with compatriot shipping firm Nakilat for nine 271,000-cbm LNG carriers.

The nine QC-Max vessels constitute half of the 18 advanced QC-Max class LNG vessels that will be constructed at Hudong-Zhonghua Shipyard, QatarEnergy said.

Prior to this, QatarEnergy also signed time charter agreements with Nakilat for 25 conventional-size LNG carriers and this deal puts the total to 34 vessels.

Including these vessels, Nakilat’s LNG carrier fleet will rise to 105 ships.

QatarEnergy recently signed a huge deal worth about $6 billion with Hudong-Zhonghua for the 18 giant vessels.

The firm says these are the largest LNG vessels ever built.

It also has signed long-term time charter party (TCP) agreements with three ship owners for the operation of nine QC-Max vessels.

The long-term TCP agreements cater for the operation of the vessels by affiliates of China Merchants Group, Shandong Marine Group, and China LNG Shipping (Holdings) Limited.

Moreover, CMES will operate four vessels, Shandong Marine Energy three, and CLNG two, QatarEnegy said.

Each of the world’s largest LNG vessels will be 344 meters long, 53.6 meters wide, and will have a draft of 12 meters.

Also, the vessels feature WinGD dual-fuel propulsion, a reliquefaction system, an air lubrication system, and GTT’s NO96 Super+ containment tech. The vessels have five storage tanks.

122 vessels

Including the QC-Max LNG carriers, QatarEnergy’s massive shipbuilding program includes the construction of 122 vessels.

QatarEnergy recently said it has completed the conventional sizes vessels portion of the shipbuilding program, bringing the total number of ships for which it signed time charter parties to 104 vessels.

South Korean yards and Hudong-Zhonghua will construct these 104 vessels.

Under the program, HD Hyundai Heavy Industries will build 34 174,000-cbm LNG carriers, Samsung Heavy will build 33 vessels, Hanwha Ocean will build 25 vessels, and Hudong-Zhonghua will construct 12 ships.

As per owners of the 174,000-cbm carriers, Nakilat will own 25 ships, a joint venture between H-Line Shipping, SK Shipping, and PanOcean 15 vessels, while J.P. Morgan’s Global Meridian will own 14 ships.

Moreover, a JV between NYK Line, K Line, MISC, and China LNG shipping will own 12 vessels, Knutsen 10 vessels, a JV between MOL and Cosco Energy 7 vessels, CMES and Shandong Marine will each own 6 vessels, a JV between K Line and Hyundai Glovis 4 vessels, MISC 3 vessels, and TMS Cardiff Gas 2 vessels.

The vessels will cater for QatarEnergy’s future requirements, as it moves forward with the expansion of its LNG production capacity from the North Field to 142 million tons per annum by 2030.

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