Shipowners in the LNG space are busy assessing the largest chartering tender in the history of the sector.
Over the weekend Qatar Petroleum issued an invitation to tender for the up to 100 newbuild slots it reserved last year in South Korea and China.
Rather than keeping the shipping in-house via subsidiary Nakilat, like it did the last time it went on a newbuild splurge, Qatar Petroleum has decided to open up its next phase of maritime expansion to international competition.
The chartering package, which has been issued to a large group of LNG shipowners, covers requirements for the development of Qatar’s North Field as well as the LNG volumes that will be produced from the Golden Pass LNG export project in the United States. Furthermore, the package includes options to replace time charters for a number of Qatar’s LNG carriers that will expire in the next few years.
Qatar Petroleum has entrusted Qatargas with the shipowner selection process. Winning bidders will be handed already reserved newbuild slots.
“The release of this invitation to tender package is a major milestone in our efforts towards securing the most qualified shipowners and operators for our future LNG carrier fleet,” Saad al-Kaabi, Qatar Petroleum’s CEO and president who is also Qatar’s energy minister, said over the weekend.
Last year Qatar Petroleum reserved up to 100 LNG carrier slots worth some $22bn at Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering, Hyundai Heavy Industries, Samsung Heavy Industries and Hudong-Zhonghua through to 2027 – the largest shipbuilding agreement in history, dwarfing the 45 Q-Flexes and Q-Maxes the Koreans built for the same clients from 2004 to 2007.