Japan’s Mitsui OSK Lines has confirmed that it has signed up to three more LNG carrier newbuildings under QatarEnergy’s huge ship project.

MOL said on Thursday that it had inked a long-term charter contract for the trio with the Middle East producing giant.

The company said the vessels will be built at Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding (Group) in China, and are scheduled for delivery in 2027.

MOL said it is “discussing” the share acquisition of the subsidiary which contracted the ships by its Chinese partner.

These latest newbuildings bring MOL’s tally under QatarEnergy’s LNG newbuilding project to seven vessels. MOL signed up to four ships at Hudong-Zhonghua in April as the Qatari producer assigned the first of its 151 pre-reserved slots to a shipowner.

“MOL, through its further participation in LNG projects in Qatar, will contribute to stable global LNG supply and enhance the maritime transport of the next-generation, environment-friendly energy resources,” the shipowner said.

On Tuesday, TradeWinds reported that MOL, working together with its long-standing Chinese partner Cosco Shipping Energy Transportation and its LNG arm, was set to confirm the trio.

The order is expected to be the last relating to the QatarEnergy berth slots for this year.

Those following the Qatari business said the MOL newbuildings complete a 66-ship lineup under Phase 1 of the massive newbuilding project.

QatarEnergy is seeking the swathe of LNG shipping to provide tonnage for North Field Expansion project which is set to increase its LNG production from 77 million tonnes per annum to 126 mtpa by 2027.

In addition, the company needs vessels to lift its volumes from the Golden Pass LNG project in the US which is due to start up in 2024 and for fleet renewal purposes.

QatarEnergy’s LNG carrier newbuilding programme

Shipyard Reserved berths (including options) Shipowners No of vessels
DSME 45 K3 11


TMS Cardiff Gas 2


Meiji Shipping 4


MISC 2
DSME total

19
Hyundai Heavy Industries 45 Knutsen 10


MISC, NYK, K Line and China LNG Shipping (Holdings) 7
HHI total:

17
Samsung Heavy Industries 45 JP Morgan 12


K3 6
SHI total

18
Hudong-Zhonghua 16 MOL 4


NYK 5


MOL 3
Hudong-Zhonghua total

12
Totals 151
66