Japanese shipowner Mitsui OSK Lines has been tipped as the company behind an LNG carrier newbuilding order at Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering.

In an announcement, DSME said it had won a KRW 232.2bn ($197.6m) order to build an LNG carrier. The vessel is due to be delivered by September 2024.

But the South Korean yard did not name the contracting party.

Newbuilding sources said MOL is the owner behind the order. They indicated the deal involved exercising an option the shipowner had been holding at the yard.

It is not yet clear how MOL, which usually orders tonnage against charter contracts, plans to employ the vessel.

MOL officials were asked for confirmation and comment on the order.

Repeat customer

The shipowner has been something of a regular customer at DSME on LNG carriers.

In January, MOL and energy company Uniper put a giant $340m, 263,000-cbm floating storage and regasification unit newbuilding ordered at the yard on hold, when the German company opted to reassess the project it was designed for and eventually switched its plans for the site to hydrogen.

Three months later it emerged that MOL had flipped the FSRU berth slot to an LNG carrier newbuilding. Observers said the option confirmed on Thursday is likely associated with this.

In September, MOL ordered four Arc4 LNG carrier newbuildings which are backed by charter deals the vessels with Russian gas giant Novatek.

DSME said in its October investor-relations presentation that it has achieved $8.04bn (104.4%) of $7.7bn new order target for 2021.

Aside from this latest deal the shipbuilder has netted orders for 46 ships.