Qatar moves ahead on massive LNG fleet expansion

Written by Nick Blenkey
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Q-Max LNG carrier

With plans to increase production of LNG from its North Field development from 77 million tons a year to 126 million tons by 2027, Qatar Petroleum has issued an Invitation to Tender (ITT) to a large group of LNG carrier owners for the long-term time charter of LNG carriers to meet future requirements.

These include not only the increased North Field output but also the LNG volumes that will be produced from the Golden Pass LNG export project in the U.S.

Additionally, the ITT includes options to replace time charters for a number of Qatar’s LNG carriers that are set to expire in the next few years.

On receiving the responses to the ITT, Qatar Petroleum will review bidders’ technical and commercial capabilities with the objective of matching selected shipowners with shipyard construction slots previously reserved at a number of Chinese and Korean shipyards.

“As we have previously announced, Qatar Petroleum entered into agreements with major Korean and Chinese shipyards to reserve LNG ship construction capacity for building as many as 100 new LNG carriers to cater for the needs of North Field Expansion Project as well as for Qatar Petroleum’s future LNG carrier fleet requirements, in what will be the largest LNG shipbuilding program in history,” said Qatar’s Minister of State for Energy Affairs, Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi, who is president and CEO of Qatar Petroleum. “The release of this ITT package is a major milestone in our efforts towards securing the most qualified ship owners and operators for our future LNG carrier fleet.”

Qatar Petroleum has entrusted Qatargas with the management of the ship owner selection program on its behalf, noting that “Qatargas has a proven track-record of establishing long-term partnerships that have successfully and safely operated a fleet of 45 Q-Flex and Q-Max LNG carriers, the world’s largest LNG carriers, which constitute the backbone of Qatar’s LNG carrier fleet today.​”

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