Qatar, South Korean Cos. To Build World's Largest LNG Carriers

A Qatari company signed a contract with two South Korean shipbuilding companies May 23 to construct the world's largest liquified natural gas (LNG) carriers at a cost of $2.5 billion. Qatar Gas Transport Company said it has ordered three "QMax" LNG carriers with a capacity of 265,000 cubic meters (9.3 million cubic feet) each from Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine, and another three from Samsung Heavy Industries. The carriers will be the largest in the world in terms of capacity, the statement said.

The signing of the deal coincided with the fifth annual Asia Cooperation Dialogue meeting taking place in Doha with the participation of Asian foreign ministers including South Korea's Ban Ki-Moon. The carriers will be leased to Qatar Liquefied Gas Company, a joint venture between Qatar Petroleum and ExxonMobil, to transport LNG from one of their largest projects at the North Field, estimated to contain nearly 10% of the world's proven gas reserves.

Qatar Gas Transport, which has already received four carriers over the past two years, intends to invest a total of $16 billion to have a fleet of 61 carriers by 2010, its chairman Faisal al-Suwaidi said..

The Gulf Arab state of Qatar is set to be the world's biggest exporter of LNG by 2010 with an annual output of 30 million tons and is pushing to take production to 45 million tons a year.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2006

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