LNG Operators Invited to Bid by Qatar on Largest Time Charter Program

largest LNG ship charter program
Qatar's LNG export terminal (file photo)

Published Mar 22, 2021 3:16 PM by The Maritime Executive

Qatar Petroleum had set off a scramble in the LNG shipping sector with the release of a tender for shipowners to bid on the largest charter agreement in the history of the industry. The tender, which was issued to a large group of LNG ship owners, will select world-class ship owners for the long-term time charter of carriers tied to the aggressive expansion of LNG output by Qatar Petroleum which will nearly double production by 2027. 

“The release of this package is a major milestone in our efforts towards securing the most qualified ship owners and operators for our future LNG carrier fleet,” said His Excellency Mr. Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi, the Minister of State for Energy Affairs, the President and CEO of Qatar Petroleum

In 2020, Qatar Petroleum entered into agreements with Korean and Chinese shipyards to reserve LNG ship construction capacity for building as many as 100 new LNG carriers. Recently, Qatar also announced that it would be working with a partnership to develop the first significant new design for LNG carriers.

All of this is being done to support Qatar’s ongoing expansion projects for the output of LNG. Efforts at the North Fields site in Qatar are projected to increase production capacity from 77 million tons per annum today to 126 million tons per annum by 2027.

In addition to supporting the North Field Expansion Project, the tender package also covers the requirements for the LNG volumes that will be produced from the Golden Pass LNG export project in the United States. It also includes options to replace time charters for some of Qatar's LNG carriers that will expire in the next few years.

Qatar Petroleum said once it receives the responses, it will review bidders’ technical and commercial capabilities to assign selected ship owners to the shipyards’ construction slots, which were previously reserved at Chinese and Korean shipyards. Qatargas, which currently has agreements for the operation of its 45 Q-Flex and Q-Max LNG carriers, will be managing the ship-owner selection program. Its current fleet, makes up the backbone of Qatar's current LNG carrier fleet.