QatarEnergy has teamed with compatriot Nakilat on a 25-ship newbuilding deal in the latest instalment of the largest-ever newbuilding project in the sector.

QatarEnergy said the move marked the first award in Phase 2 of its mammoth order for more than 100 new LNG carriers and stressed additional deals would be announced soon.

Nakilat will own and operate the 25 vessels of 174,000 cbm announced on Saturday, with QatarEnergy chartering the ships to be constructed at shipyards in South Korea, a statement said.

Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi, QatarEnergy president and chief executive and Qatar minister of state for energy affairs, said: “QatarEnergy is moving firmly in building its future LNG fleet, expected to be in excess of 100 vessels.

“We look forward to announcing the names of additional successful bidders in the near future.”

Nakilat is the largest owner of LNG carriers in the world, with a fleet comprising 69 vessels prior to Saturday’s announcement.

QatarEnergy signed long-term charters for 60 LNG newbuildings in Phase 1 of what it called a historic and unprecedented fleet expansion programme in 2022.

Qatari LNG shipowning giant Nakilat was noticeable by its absence from the lineup of 14 shipowners involved in Phase 1, TradeWinds reported at the time.

Other major shipowners that have secured ships under the QatarEnergy drive include the K3 grouping of H-Line Shipping, Pan Ocean and SK Shipping, Greek owner Cardiff Gas, Meiji Shipping and MSC Group, NYK Group, K Line and JP Morgan.

QatarEnergy and Nakilat did not specify which South Korean shipyards would build the latest ships.

However, in September last year, QatarEnergy signed an agreement with HD Hyundai Heavy Industries for the construction of 17 ultra-modern LNG carriers.

And earlier this week, South Korea’s Samsung Heavy Industries received the biggest order in its 50-year history — a KRW 4.57trn ($3.45bn) contract to build 15 LNG carriers.

While the Koje-based shipyard would only disclose that the customer is a Middle Eastern shipowner, multiple shipbuilding sources named LNG producer QatarEnergy as the counterparty.

QatarEnergy is using the vast programme to add capacity and replenish its existing fleet.

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