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Qatar Mulls Buying 60 New LNG Carriers

January 29, 2019

Image: Samsung Heavy Industries

Qatar’s energy minister Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi, who also serves as deputy chairman of Qatar Petroleum (QP), outlined plans to order 60 new liquefied natural gas (LNG) carriers.

Reuters, quoting a statement issued by South Korea’s presidential office, reported that the energy minister expects cooperation with experienced Korean shipbuilders on constructing the LNG carriers.

Qatar is the world’s largest supplier of LNG, with an annual production of 77 million tons. Last year, it announced it would further ramp up its annual capacity to 110 million tons by 2023-2024 by building four liquefaction trains.

A report in Pulse news said that in line with its major expansion plan, Qatar has been taking action to bolster its fleet of LNG carriers.

QP is expected to order 60 LNG carriers with a capacity of 210,000-266,000 cubic meters, which are 30 percent larger than regular LNG tankers, it said. Each costs more than $200 million, meaning the deal could be worth at least $12 billion.

South Korean shipyard are bracing for a jump in LNG shipbuilding contracts from Qatar, after the Minister's statement. According to South Korea’s Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME), most of the LNG carriers owned by Qatar were built by Korea’s top three shipbuilders.

DSME CEO Sung Leep Jung said that he hoped South Korean would be considered a primary option for building new LNG carriers for Qatar.

The officials of the state-owned oil company QP recently visited Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI), DSME and Samsung Heavy Industries (010140.KS) (SHI) to check their capacities to build super-sized LNG carriers, reported Business Korea.

Anticipation for a big order is growing among the Korean shipbuilders as they have already won massive orders for LNG carriers from Qatar. They swept the 45 LNG carriers ordered by Qatar from 2004 to 2007. Back then, DSME took 19, Samsung Heavy Industries 18 and Hyundai Heavy Industries eight.

The Korean big three shipbuilders brought home 66 orders out of 70 LNG carriers last year.

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