South Korean shipbuilders are expected to benefit from plans by Qatar to build 60 new LNG carriers
South Korean shipbuilders are expected to benefit from plans by Qatar to build 60 new LNG carriers. The plans were outlined by Qatari State Energy Minister Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi at a state summit meeting held between South Korea and Qatar on 28 January.
The summit was South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s first official meeting with a foreign head of state this year. It also marked the first visit by Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani to South Korea in five years.
Qatar is South Korea’s largest supplier of LNG and sixth biggest supplier of oil making it a crucial country for energy co-operation.
Reuters reported that energy minister Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi, who also serves as vice chairman, president and chief executive of Qatar Petroleum, said he expects co-operation with South Korean shipbuilders on building the LNG carriers, according to a statement issued by South Korea’s presidential office.
Three South Korean shipbuilders – Hyundai Heavy Industries, Samsung Heavy Industries and Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering – have previously built 45 LNGCs (31 Q-Flex and 14 Q-Max designs) under charter to Qatargas to transport LNG to global markets. Qatargas also charters a fleet of 25 purpose-built conventional vessels, each with a capacity of between 135,000 and 152,000 m3 currently on long-term charter to transport LNG from Qatar to customers in Asia, the Indian sub-continent, Europe, and Mediterranean Sea.
As the world’s largest cargo carrying capacity LNG vessels, Q-Flex and Q-Max vessels are capable of transporting 210,000 m3 and 266,000 m3 of LNG respectively. These vessels supply Asia, Europe and various other markets.
When they were launched a decade ago, Q-Flex design ships incorporated a number of technological innovations for the LNG carrier market, including their size which is more than 40% larger than the standard 150,000 m3 LNG carrier. The vessels were also fitted with two MAN-B&W 25,320 bhp slow-speed diesels driving twin shafts/propellers with two rudders independent of each other, offering safety and redundancy.
Up until that point, LNGCs used boiled-off gas from the cargo tanks in boilers to produce steam to power the steam turbines. By using slow-speed diesels, the ships burn less fuel and preserve LNG cargo in the tanks. Cargo re-liquefaction plants on board return cargo BOG to the cargo tanks, maximising the cargo delivery to the customer.