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June 11, 2004

JV orders Medmax LNG carriers for Sonatrach

A joint venture has been formed to build two 75,000 cu.m "Mediterranean Max" LNG tankers for a 20-year time charter to Algerian state owned hydrocarbon company Sonatrach. As a result of an international tender, the joint venture has now given award to to Japan's Universal Shipbuilding Corporation for one firm plus one option 75,000 cu.m LNG carriers with deliveries in 2007 and 2009.

The joint venture is between Sonatrach, its wholly-owned shipping subsidiary Hyproc, and Japan's ITOCHU and Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL), each with a 25 percent shareholding.

Universal Shipbuilding is the corporation formed by the merger of the shipbuilding operations of NKK Corporation and Hitachi Zosen Corporation. ITOCH is the former C. Itoh and Co. Ltd. and is one of Japan's leading trading companies. It is ranked 17th among the top 500 companies in the world.

The Mediterranean Max LNG carrier has been designed and optimized to trade in the Mediterranean and have the largest cargo loading capacity of this type of vessel.

Algeria is the world's second largest exporter of LNG (abt. 20 million ton per year in 2002). Sonatrach plans to use these vessels for LNG trade to European countries, mainly in Mediterranean trade and reinforce its ability to transport and sell LNG from Algeria further. After delivery from the shipyard, the vessels will be operated under joint collaboration between Hyproc and MOL

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