SEOUL -- South Korea's three major shipbuilders have acquired a mega deal from Qatar Petroleum, a state-owned petroleum company, to build liquefied natural gas carriers that would help them tide over a global recession caused by a coronavirus pandemic.
Qatar Petroleum said it signed agreements with Hyundai Heavy Industries, Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering and Samsung Heavy Industries to reserve construction capacity to meet future LNG carrier fleet requirements. The three shipbuilders would reserve a major portion of their LNG ship construction capacity for Qatar Petroleum through 2027.
In a statement posted on its website, Qatar Petroleum said it signed "the largest LNG shipbuilding agreements in history" to secure more than 100 ships valued at more than $19 billion. The agreements were signed in a virtual signing ceremony attended by Qatar's Energy Minister Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi, who also serves as Qatar Petroleum CEO, and South Korea's Trade, Industry and Energy Minister Sung Yun-mo.
Al-Kaabi said the agreements reflect Qatar's commitment to expanding North Field, a natural gas field owned by Qatar Petroleum, "even during these extraordinary times." The expansion is aimed at increasing Qatar’s annual LNG production capacity from 77 million tons to more than 120 million tons by 2027.
Al-Kaabi said new LNG vessels to be built by South Korean shipbuilders would be equipped with dual-fuel engines utilizing LNG as a fuel to enhance fuel efficiency and reduce pollutant emissions.
During a summit between the leaders of the two countries in January 2019, Qatar expressed its willingness to place multiple orders for the construction of LNG carriers at South Korean shipyards. "Despite the recent difficulties facing the international community, today's signing was made possible by the long-standing mutual trust between Korea and Qatar," Sung said.
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