Adnoc Logistics & Services has opted to divide its planned order for six firm LNG carrier newbuildings worth an estimated $1.6bn between two South Korean shipbuilders.

The company has signed letters of intent with Hanwha Ocean and Samsung Heavy Industries for three vessels each plus four optional vessels, divided between the two yards, shipbuilding sources said.

The deal was concluded during a visit by United Arab Emirates President Mohamed Al Nahyan to Seoul this week, where he signed a comprehensive economic partnership agreement with South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol that covered a wide range of industrial sectors.

The choice of South Korean yards to build Adnoc L&S LNG carriers is likely to disappoint China’s Jiangnan Shipyard, which has previously built similar vessels for the company and had been bidding for the work.

Adnoc L&S booked six 175,000-cbm LNG newbuildings with Jiangnan in 2022, with the ships then priced at around $200m each as the Adnoc-parented company moved to replace its older steam turbine LNG carriers.

The Chinese yard is due to deliver the first of these vessels in February 2025, with two to follow later that year and the remaining trio in 2026.

Adnoc L&S launched a huge tender for gas carrier tonnage in January in a hunt for vessels worth up to $3bn.

The enquiry invited offers from shipbuilders for up to 10 LNG carriers of around 175,000 cbm and four very large ammonia carrier newbuildings.

This month, Adnoc L&S signed up with Jiangnan for the four VLACs, contracting two firm 93,000-cbm ships and securing optional berths for an additional pair. The yard had been marketing its berths for VLACs at around $120m.

These newbuildings, which will be fitted with type-B cargo tanks, were contracted through Adnoc L&S’ joint venture with Chinese polyurethane producer Wanhua Chemical Group, AW Shipping.

They will be delivered in 2026.

Stocklisted Adnoc L&S has previously said that it does not comment on commercial activities or market speculation.

The company operates a large and diverse fleet for which it has been pursuing a large renewal and expansion plan.

Parent Adnoc has also been expanding on LNG. This month, the company signed an agreement to acquire a 10% equity stake in the Area 4 concession in Mozambique’s Rovuma basin from Portugal’s Galp in a move that will give the company a share of the existing and planned LNG production.

This comprises the operational Coral Sul FLNG facility, the proposed Coral North FLNG development and the Rovuma LNG onshore facilities.

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