Expansionist-minded Adnoc Logistics & Services has kicked off its gas carrier order spree by signing up for up to four LPG dual-fuel very large ammonia carriers at Jiangnan Shipyard in China.

Shipbuilding players said the Abu Dhabi owner had contracted the Chinese shipyard to build two firm vessels — dubbed VLACs, capable of carrying a full load of ammonia or LPG — and secured options for a further pair of ships.

They said the 93,000-cbm vessels were contracted through Adnoc L&S’ joint venture with Chinese polyurethane producer Wanhua Chemical Group, AW Shipping.

The price of the VLACs, which will be fitted with type-B cargo tanks, has yet to emerge but brokers said Jiangnan is seeking around $120m for this ship type.

They added that Jiangnan has managed to “squeeze out” 2026 delivery slots for Adnoc L&S’ firm newbuildings.

Officials at Jiangnan declined to comment on the shipyard’s newbuilding activities, citing contract confidentiality.

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TradeWinds has asked Adnoc L&S for confirmation. The company has previously said that outside its statements it does not comment on commercial activities.

AW Shipping was formed in 2019 after Abu Dhabi National Oil and Wanhua Chemical entered a long-term LPG sales agreement.

Under this, the Chinese company agreed to purchase up to one million tonnes per annum of LPG. The value of the collaboration was estimated to be worth up to $12bn.

The joint shipping company currently owns five Jiangnan-built 86,000-cbm VLGCs that were constructed in 2022 and 2023.

Ongoing tender

In January, TradeWinds reported that Adnoc L&S had launched a request for offers to build four VLACs and up to 10 LNG carriers.

Several broking houses were reported to be working on this project with shipbuilders in South Korea and China.

Sources said Samsung Heavy Industries, Hanwha Ocean and Jiangnan are still in discussions with Adnoc L&S for the 175,000-cbm LNG ships.

They think Adnoc L&S may split the orders between yards as it is seeking early deliveries for the vessels and many LNG carrier shipbuilders have largely sold out their 2027 berths.

“Some shipyards may still be able to squeeze out one or two early slots after reorganising their production,” said a shipbuilding specialist.

Adnoc L&S currently has six 175,000-cbm LNG carrier newbuildings under construction at Jiangnan. It ordered the sextet in 2022 at a reported price of between $200m and $230m each.

Prices for LNG carrier newbuildings today are currently holding at over $260m per ship.

Adnoc L&S contracted the six newbuildings as part of its fleet renewal programme. The vessels are set to replace the company’s 137,000-cbm LNG steam turbine ships.

Jiangnan is slated to deliver the first of the sextet in February 2025, followed by two more vessels in the same year and three ships in 2026.

Abu Dhabi-listed Adnoc L&S owns and operates a large mixed fleet of over 110 gas carriers, tankers, bulkers, container ships and offshore vessels.

Last week, the company said it had generated a net profit of AED 712m ($194m), representing a 34% increase over a net profit of AED 533m in the first quarter of 2023.

Revenues for the quarter reached AED 3.085bn, marking a 42% increase over the corresponding quarter in 2023, while Ebitda increased 44% to AED 1bn.

The company has raised its 2024 full-year revenue growth forecast upwards to a low 30% range on the back of the strong quarter.

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