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Lloyds List: Qatargas 4 beefs up with LNG giants

Tony Gray
Published: Jul 13, 2007

QATAR Liquefied Gas (4) has officially become the long-term charterer of eight of the largest liquefied natural gas carriers, following the project’s incorporation earlier this week.

The time charters were transferred to Qatargas 4 by Qatar Petroleum, the majority partner in the project.

The charters were originally signed in February with the vessels’ owner Qatar Gas Transport Co (Nakilat).

The eight vessels are split equally between the Q-Flex (about 215,000 cu m) and Q-Max (266,000 cu m) designs,and are being built by South Korea’sSamsung Heavy Industries andDaewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering.

Nakilat wholly owns 25 LNG carriers, which are under construction and scheduled to come into service over the next four years.

The Qatari shipping company has also said it could order two more LNG carriers in the near term.

One of these would serve the Qatargas 4, in which the other partner is Shell, and the other the RasGas 3 project.

This is no surprise, as its has been consistently stated since the Qatargas 4 project was first unveiled in 2005 that it would employ nine vessels.

The first LNG cargoes from Qatargas 4 are scheduled for delivery around the end of the decade.

Shell is buying the project’s entire output and will market the gas mainly in the eastern US.

Nakilat’s fleet of wholly-owned LNG vessels will be put into service over the next four years to transport LNG from four of Qatar’s major projects Qatargas II, Qatargas 3, RasGas 3, as well asQatargas 4.

Shell International Trading and Shipping will manage these 25 newbuilding LNG carriers, with operational management of the vessels to be transferred to Nakilat within 12 years of the delivery of the last vessel.

In addition, Nakilat also has equity interests (ranging from 20% to 60%) in a further 29 LNG carriers.

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