Evangelos Marinakis’ private company Capital Group is being named as the shipowner behind a $1bn-plus order for LNG carriers in South Korea.

HD Korea Shipbuilding & Offshore Engineering announced on Monday that it has received an order for four 174,000-cbm newbuildings worth KRW 1.43tn ($1.08bn), or $270m per ship.

Its Mokpo-based Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries will build the quartet and deliver it in 2028.

HD KSOE did not name the contracting party, referring to it only as “an Oceanian shipper”.

Shipbuilding sources following HD KSOE’s newbuilding activities told TradeWinds that Capital Group is behind the order.

While the four are all firm vessels, it is not known if the contract includes any options.

Slots scarcity

Capital Group has been contacted for comment.

This contract brings the total number of newbuildings that the Greek company has on order at HD KSOE to 13. Its earlier nine gas carriers, ordered between 2021 and the beginning of 2023, are set to be delivered by 2027.

Brokers said Capital Group’s latest four newbuildings have set a record price for LNG carriers, stressing that these ships will only be delivered four years down the road.

One shipbuilding observer said prices of new LNG carriers are still firm even though steel plate costs have dropped by around 20% since the beginning of the year.

“The last deal at a South Korean yard, excluding QatarEnergy’s related newbuildings, was done at around $267m per ship. We think the newbuilding price of LNG carriers will continue to increase due to slots scarcity at shipyards,” said the observer.

London broker Clarksons’ Shipping Intelligence Network shows the LNG carrier orderbook standing at 340, of which 17 units were ordered this year. These figures do not take into account Capital’s latest order.

Market sources say there is strong interest in new vessels, with several new LNG projects under development.

HD KSOE is the holding company of HD Hyundai Heavy Industries, Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries and Hyundai Mipo Dockyard.

The group has now signed contracts for 46 newbuildings worth $5.98bn this year — 44.3% of its annual target of $13.5bn.