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DOHA: QatarEnergy has signed long-term time charter party (TCP) agreements with four international shipowners for the operation of 19 new, ultra-modern conventional-size LNG vessels as part of the second ship-owner tender under QatarEnergys historic LNG fleet expansion programme.

The agreements cater for the operation of six vessels by CMES LNG Carrier Investment Inc, six vessels by Shandong Marine Energy (Singapore) Pte Ltd, and three vessels by MISC Berhad; all of which are being constructed at Samsung Heavy Industries in South Korea. The remaining four vessels will be operated by a joint venture of Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha Ltd. (K-Line) and Hyundai Glovis Co. Ltd. and are being constructed at Hanwha Ocean (formerly Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering) also in South Korea.

Minister of State for Energy Affairs HE Saad Sherida Al Kaabi, who is also the President and CEO of QatarEnergy, signed four separate sets of agreements with President & CEO of CMES LNG Carrier Investment, Wang Yongxin; Chairman of Shandong Marine Energy, Li Maozhong; Managing Executive Officer of K Line, Satoshi Kanamori; and Vice President of Hyundai Glovis, Jungsuk Kim; and Captain Rajalingam Subramaniam, the President & CEO of MISC Berhad.

The agreements were signed on Sunday in a special ceremony held at QatarEnergys headquarters in Doha, and attended by senior executives from QatarEnergy, QatarEnergy LNG, and the four shipowner companies.

Commenting on this occasion, Al Kaabi said: "Today's signings form a significant milestone in QatarEnergys LNG fleet expansion program, as it marks the conclusion of the conventional sizes vessels portion of the programme, bringing the total number of ships for which we have signed TCPs to 104 vessels, a massive undertaking that is the largest shipbuilding and leasing program ever in the history of the industry. These ships will support our expanded LNG production capacity from the North Field in Qatar and Golden Pass in the US, while also meeting our long-term fleet replacement requirements. The careful shipowner selection process followed a detailed and rigorous global tender, signifying QatarEnergys commitment to expanding its fleet of modern LNG carriers in collaboration with world-class shipowners and openly and transparently."

He added: "This is an important undertaking that will enable QatarEnergy to continue delivering cleaner energy to the world safely and reliably."

Since 2022, QatarEnergy has signed a series of TCPs for the long-term charter and operation of 104 conventional LNG vessels, as part of its historic LNG fleet expansion program. This initiative will support QatarEnergys expanding LNG production capacity from the North Field LNG expansion and Golden Pass LNG export projects, as well as meeting its long-term fleet replacement requirements.

Forty-three ships out of the 104 will be chartered by QatarEnergys affiliate 'QatarEnergy Trading', marking it the single largest one-step ship acquisition program of any single entity in the history of the LNG industry, and placing QatarEnergy and consequently QatarEnergy Trading firmly on the road to becoming a leading global LNG trader.

The 19 conventional LNG vessels, part of the agreements, have a capacity of 174,000 cubic meters each and will be equipped with the latest LNG shipping technologies, embodying QatarEnergy's ongoing endeavours to achieve optimal fuel efficiency and reduce carbon emissions.

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