Middle East LNG producer Oman is adding a pair of LNG carrier newbuildings to its domestic fleet after contracting two vessels priced at over $254m each.

South Korean yard grouping Korea Shipbuilding & Offshore Engineering Co (KSOE) said on Thursday that it had signed a deal to build two vessels for Oman global logistics group Asyad Shipping.

KSOE priced the order for the two vessels at KRW 650bn ($509m), which equates to a price of $254.5m per ship. The deal is understood to include provision for a pair of optional LNG newbuildings.

The LNG carriers will be built by Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries and are scheduled for delivery in the first half of 2026.

To date, Oman’s LNG carrier fleet has been held by Oman Shipping Co, which is controlled by the government through the Asyad Group’s 79.9% stake in the shipowner.

But apart from one 2014-built ship, the other six ships in the country’s LNG fleet are ageing — the vessels were constructed between 2001 and 2008. They also rank as of smaller capacities compared to today’s 174,000-cbm newbuildings which are equipped with more efficient technologies.

These latest KSOE orders will boost 2022’s already record tally of LNG carrier orders to at least 167 vessels worth well over $35bn in total.

KSOE received orders for almost 200 vessels worth $23.9bn in 2022.

The shipyard group has achieved over 137% of its $17.4bn sales target for the year.