According to Pulse by Maeil Business News Korea,
South Korean shipyards have gotten their hopes up at the prospect of bringing home multibillion-dollar orders for 60 supersized liquefied natural gas (LNG) tankers from the Qatari government after summit talks between leaders of the two states in Seoul.
Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi, the energy minister of Qatar, on Monday told reporters that his government was tilting towards Korean builders in placing the orders for 60 new LNG carriers. Qatar’s state-owned oil company Qatar Petroleum recently had toured shipyards of Hyundai Heavy Industries Co., Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co. (DSME) and Samsung Heavy Industries Co., as well as China and Japan to assess their capabilities to build ultra-large LNG vessels.
The minister accompanied Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani in a state visit and summit meeting with President Moon Jae-in on Monday. The two leaders agreed to strengthen bilateral cooperation in areas ranging from energy and road transportation to infrastructure and new industrial sectors.
The summit between the two leaders has heightened expectations that Korean shipbuilders could land the mega deal with Qatar.
Qatar is the world’s largest supplier of LNG, with an annual production of 77 million tons. Last year, it announced it would further ramp up its annual capacity to 110 million tons by 2023-2024 by building four liquefaction trains.
In line with its major expansion plan, Qatar has been taking action to bolster its fleet of LNG carriers.
Qatar Petroleum is expected to order 60 LNG carriers with a capacity of 210,000-266,000 cubic meters, which are 30 percent larger than regular LNG tankers. Each costs more than $200 million, meaning the deal could be worth at least $12 billion.
“Most of Qatar’s 50 LNG carriers were produced by Korea’s top three shipbuilders,” said Chung Sung-lip, chief executive of DSME, who attended the luncheon after the Monday summit. “This is why we believe Qatar will turn to Korea for the new order.”
Korea’s big three shipbuilders had swept all of the proposed LNG carriers from Qatar from 2004 to 2007. They demonstrated their prowess again last year, grabbing 66 out of the 70 LNG carrier orders placed worldwide.
Korea imports 31 percent of its total LNG volume from Qatar.
By Park Yong-beom and Kim Hyo-jin
Copyrights Pulse by Maeil Business News Korea. All Rights Reserved.
Source: Pulse by Maeil Business News Korea (January 29, 2019)