BP Amoco ordered two liquified natural gas (LNG) ships, with options to purchase three more, from Samsung Heavy Industries Co for in excess of $300 million.
The oil giant, which is the world's second largest non-state producer of natural gas, said construction will start in April 2001 with delivery of the first ship in the fourth quarter of 2002 and the second in the first quarter of 2003.
"This order is part of our strategy for rapidly growing our internationally traded gas business. It is unusual in that it does not follow the traditional convention of tying vessel orders
to specific gas sources and specific gas customers," said Richard Flurry, chief executive, Gas and Power in a statement.
Flurry said the orders formed part of the group's wider gas and power strategy including the recent deal to supply LNG to the Dominican Republic, the securing of access to the North American
gas market via Cove Point
in Maryland and the recent decision to invest in Europe's first integrated LNG regasification
and power station at Bilbao in Spain.
The ships will have a capacity of 136,000 cubic metres at 98.5 percent full.