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September 7, 2006

Qatar to have world's largest LNG fleet

Qatar will have the world's largest fleet of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) carriers within five years, according Robert Curt, managing director of Qatar Gas Transport Company (QGTC.e projects.

Robert Curt said Qatar anticipates requiring a total of about 90 LNG carriers to handle its natural gas exports over the next five years, of which 48 are currently in service or on order.

"This will be the largest fleet of LNG carriers servicing one natural gas producing country. In addition, we will also need a number of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) and sulfur carriers," said Curt, a U.S. Merchant Marine Academy graduate who has spent over three decades involved in the sea transportation of petroleum.

Curt was speaking ahead of his planned address at Middle East Money & Ships, being held in Dubai this December. He is due to outline Qatar's Strategy for Maritime Transport in the LNG, LPG, tanker and dry bulk sectors.

Curt said despite its envious vessel order book, QGTC faces various challenges.

"The biggest challenge for our LNG transportation is finding creative low cost debt financing for the ships that remain to be ordered.

"There is also a need to find safe, reliable, third party ship operators and crews until QGTC is ready to take on the operation of the vessels ourselves. On LPG, matching up our vessel assets with the transportation needs of the marketers will be a challenge, since unlike LNG, LPG is normally sold under short-term contracts and can be sold either delivered or Free On Board (FOB)."

In addition to investing in LNG vessels, QGTC will also build and operate a new state-of-the-art ship dry dock and repair facility in Ras Laffan.

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