Qatar Orders LNG Carriers

Thursday, May 25, 2006
Qatar Gas Transport Company (Nakilat) signed a contract with two South Korean shipbuilding giants to construct the world's largest liquified natural gas (LNG) carriers at a cost of $2.5b. The carriers will be the largest in the world in terms of capacity, the statement said. The signing of the deal coincided with the fifth annual Asia Cooperation Dialogue meeting taking place in Doha with the participation of Asian foreign ministers including South Korea's Ban Ki-Moon.

The carriers will be leased to Qatar Liquefied Gas Company, a joint venture between Qatar Petroleum and energy giant ExxonMobil, to transport LNG from one of their largest projects at the North Field, estimated to contain nearly 10 per cent of the world's proven gas reserves. Nakilat is expected to acquire a total of 61 liquefied natural gas (LNG) vessels worth a whopping $16bn up until 2010, said Nakilat Vice Chairman Faisal Mohamed Al Suwaidi here yesterday. Al Suwaidi speaking at the signing of time charter agreement for LNG vessels between Nakilat and Qatar Liquefied Gas Company-2 (QG2) told reporters that the scale of the multi-billion dollars projects being undertaken at Ras Laffan is unprecedented anywhere in the world, adding that the vessels would be acquired on time to meet the country's anticipated huge production capacity. Qatargas-2, (QG2) and Nakilat yesterday signed a 25-year time-charter for six "QMax" LNG carriers of approximately 265,000 cubic metres carrying capacity each. In addition to the 100 per cent owned six ships, Nakilat has 30 to 60 per cent equity interest in another 28 LNG carriers that have either been delivered or on order to service Qatar's LNG projects, including the earlier QG-2 vessels.

While these will be the largest LNG carriers ever constructed, physically they are slightly smaller than the common VLCC's that currently transport crude oil around the world. QG 2 intends to use the vessels, along with the 8 "QFlex" LNG carriers (approximately 215,000 cubic meters capacity each) contracted for over a year ago, to transport LNG from its trains 4 and 5, each with a production capacity of 7.8 million tons per year. Mohammed Ghannam, Managing Director of Nakilat said that this will be the first time that Nakilat will take 100 per cent ownership of the 6 large LNG carriers.

The six first-ever double hull QMax ships have been designed with state of the art safety features, such as an 80 year inner hull fatigue life combined with primary and secondary membrane barriers for LNG containment. Qatar is set to be the world's biggest exporter of LNG by 2010 with an annual output of 30 million tonnes and is pushing to take production to 45 million tonnes a year. Source: The Peninsula

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