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QatarEnergy awards $6bn contract to Chinese shipbuilder 

Qatar China ships QatarEnergy
Top company executives at the contract signing ceremony. The QC-Max ships will have a capacity of 271,000 cubic meters, the world's largest by size
  • Largest LNG vessels ever built
  • Industry’s largest single shipbuilding contract
  • All vessels delivered by 2031

QatarEnergy has awarded a $6 billion contract to China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC) to build 18 of the largest LNG vessels ever made as part of the state-owned company’s fleet expansion programme.

Each “ultra-modern” QC-Max vessels will have a capacity of 271,000 cubic metres and will be constructed at China’s Hudong-Zhonghua Shipyard, a wholly-owned subsidiary of CSSC, one of the world’s largest LNG exporters. 

“The agreement we signed today is the industry’s largest single shipbuilding contract ever,” said QatarEnergy CEO Saad Al-Kaabi.

Eight of the 18 QC-Max size LNG vessels will be delivered in 2028 and 2029, while the remaining 10 will be delivered in 2030 and 2031.

Al-Kaabi said that 12 conventional-size LNG vessels are currently under construction at Hudong-Zhonghua, with delivery of the first vessel expected by the third quarter of this year.

Last month QatarEnergy signed time charter party agreements for 104 conventional-size vessels (174,000 cubic metres), the “largest shipbuilding and leasing programme ever in the history of the industry.”

China Petrochemical Corporation (Sinopec) last year acquired a five percent stake in the equivalent of one North Field East LNG train with a capacity of eight million tonnes per year. 

In November 2022, Sinopec signed a deal in which QatarEnergy agreed to supply 4 million tonnes of LNG annually for 27 years.

China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) acquired a 1.25 percent interest in the North Field East project and signed a 27-year LNG sales and purchase agreement for four million tonnes per annum in 2023.

Qatari LNG supplies to its main customers in China reached almost 17 million tonnes last year. 

The Gulf nation was also one of the major suppliers of crude oil (equivalent of 8.6 million tonnes), naphtha (2.3 million tonnes), LPG (2.2 million tonnes), helium (650 million cubic feet), and fertilisers, polymers and chemicals (1.6 million tonnes) to the Chinese market.

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