Adnoc Logistics & Services (Adnoc L&S) has lifted its total spending on LNG carrier newbuildings to more than $1.2bn, with an order for four more vessels in China.

Shipbuilding sources said the Middle Eastern shipowner has returned to Jiangnan Shipyard and signed for four 175,000-cbm vessels, bringing the tally to six. Its earlier two ships were sealed in March.

Officials at Jiangnan declined to comment, citing contract confidentiality, while Adnoc L&S did not reply to a request for confirmation.

The newbuilding price for its four latest LNG carriers was not disclosed, but shipbuilding sources believe it would be paying slightly more than for its first two, which were reported to have cost around $200m each.

TradeWinds understands shipyards are quoting at least $230m for an LNG carrier newbuilding.

Adnoc L&S, the shipping arm of state firm Abu Dhabi National Oil Co, has ordered the LNG gas carriers to help replace its ageing fleet of eight Moss-type, steam turbine vessels.

Captain Abdulkareem Al Masabi, chief executive of Adnoc L&S, announced the first two newbuildings in April, saying they will be crucial enablers for the company’s growth strategy, supporting its existing LNG business as well as its ambitions to grow its production capacity.

He said: “This acquisition helps future-proof our fleet with more sustainable, modern vessels capable of serving our customers for the next 25 years and deepens our partnership with Jiangnan Shipyard.”

Jiangnan is the oldest shipyard in China. The state-owned Shanghai shipbuilder was the country’s first yard to break into the gas carrier sector, winning a domestic order to build a 3,000-cbm pressurised LPG carrier in the late 1980s.

Although gas carriers are Jiangnan’s forte, it is a newcomer to the LNG carrier sector. Adnoc L&S’ contract was the yard’s first foreign export order.

CSSC’s Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding and Dalian Shipbuilding Industry Co (DSIC) are the other two shipyards in China that are building LNG carriers. But DSIC only joined the segment last month with an order for up to four newbuildings from China Merchants Energy Shipping.

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The design of Adnoc L&S’ 175,000-cbm LNG vessel was developed by Jiangnan, and the newbuildings will be built with GTT’s Mark III Flex membrane-type containment system.

Adnoc L&S is scheduled to take delivery in 2025 and 2026.

Jiangnan made its debut in the LNG carrier segment last year with an order from Chinese clean energy supplier Jovo Group to build one 79,800-cbm vessel for delivery at the end of 2023. The midsize gas ship was reported to have cost more than $120m.

Jiangnan is also building five LPG-fuelled, 86,000-cbm VLGC newbuildings for Adnoc L&S. The shipowner co-ordered the quintet in 2020 together with Chinese polyurethane producer Wanhua Chemical Group for a reported price of $73m each.

Jiangnan is scheduled to deliver three vessels in July, September and November this year, and the remaining two in January and March 2023.

Jiangnan Shipyard will be the first shipbuilder in China to construct GTT’s Mark III Flex membrane-type LNG carriers. Photo: CSSC