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QatarEnergy announces next phase of record fleet growth programme

Nakilat Q-Max LNG carrier Al Mafyar
QatarEnergy, which owns the world’s largest fleet of LNG carriers, has selected Nakilat (Qatar Gas Transport Company Limited) to own and operate up to 25 new LNG carriers of 174,000m3 to be built at shipyards in South Korea.

The vessels will enter into timecharters with affiliates of QatarEnergy and Nakilat, the company said in a statement.

It is the first award in the second phase of long-term timecharters in the largest-ever LNG fleet expansion programme. QatarEnergy’s LNG Fleet Expansion Project will also involve the selection of additional bidders to own vessels and these awards will be announced in due course.

The prevailing cost of what are now seen as standard-sized LNG carriers of 174,000 cu m is around $260m. But 15 LNG tankers of this size ordered recently at Samsung Heavy Industries for an unidentified Middle East owner are reported to have cost about $230m, about the same as QatarEnergy’s recent 17-ship deal with HD Hyundai Heavy Industries.

Commenting on the latest deal, His Excellency Mr Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi, Minister of State for Energy Affairs and President and CEO of QatarEnergy, said: “We are extremely pleased to announce this 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. This is a testament to Nakilat’s world-class capabilities as well as to the significant contributions of listed companies to the national economy.

“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,” he added.