A recent report has furthered speculation that South Korean shipowners are allying in a bid to secure operating contracts for Qatar Petroleum’s planned fleet of LNG carriers
H-Line Shipping, Hyundai LNG Shipping, Korea Line Corp, Pan Ocean and SK Shipping are reportedly considering a joint plan to win LNG transport services contracts from Qatar.
According to South Korea’s Yonhap news agency, the five shipping businesses teamed up to present their plans in Qatar’s capital city Doha this week.
The report was published as South Korea’s Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy Sung Yun Mo was set to meet Qatari Minister of Energy Saad bin Sherida Al-Kaabi to discuss the two countries’ co-operation around energy projects as part of a series of high-level talks between South Korea and Qatar.
State-owned Qatar Petroleum launched a major shipbuilding programme in April 2019 to build up to 100 LNG newbuildings over the next decade and is expected to award shipping contracts for up to 40 LNG carriers as part of a tendering process associated with the programme.
South Korean shipyards have built up a dominant position in building LNG carriers and Yonhap quoted an official from one of the five South Korean shipping firms involved in the Qatar proposal as saying it was ’worth a try’ for the group to try to secure contracts to operate the Qatari-owned vessels once they’ve been built.
Qatar Petroleum is scheduled to award contracts to shipowners in June 2020, with time charters on the ships set to be agreed by the end of 2020.
Qatar has plans to expand its North Field project with the addition of four mega LNG trains. North Field, to the northeast of the Qatari peninsula, is the world’s largest non-associated natural gas field and the expansion project would increase Qatar’s LNG production capacity from 77 mta to 110 mta from 2024.
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