Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi, president and CEO of Qatar Petroleum, fired the starting gun today on this year’s most sought after ship order.
Al-Kaabi, who is also Qatar’s energy minister, put pen to paper in video link between Doha and Beijing, signing for sixteen 174,000 cu m LNG carriers at China’s Hudong Zhonghua Shipbuilding in a deal worth RMB20bn ($2.8bn), a record for Chinese ship exports. The deal is for eight firm and eight options with all ships due for delivery by 2027.
“By entering into this agreement to reserve a major portion of Hudong’s LNG ship construction capacity through the year 2027, we are confident that we are on the right track to ensuring that our future LNG fleet requirements will be met in due time to support our increasing LNG production capacity,” Al-Kaabi commented at the landmark ship signing ceremony.
The contract is the first quarter of a huge order that has been on the cards from Qatar for more than a year. South Korean yards will be anxiously hoping that they can get some of the remaining 45 ships Qatar plans to order in the coming weeks.
The last time Qatar issued a tender on such a scale was 16 years ago with every order of the so-called Q-Maxes and Q-Flexes going to South Korea.
Hudong Zhonghua has led China’s entry into LNG carrier construction, building the nation’s first ships both for domestic owners and for export clients.