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Tuesday, July 4, 2023
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State shipbuilder signs big tanker deal
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    China Daily
  • 66302d38a31082fc2b6d1414.jpeg

    An illustration of the superheavy liquefied natural gas tanker. [Photo provided to China Daily]

    China State Shipbuilding Corp, one of the world's largest shipbuilders, has received what it calls the largest single global order of ships from energy industry giant QatarEnergy.

    The State-owned conglomerate signed a contract with the Qatari company on Monday in Beijing for 18 superheavy liquefied natural gas tankers. The signing ceremony was attended by Shan Zhongde, China's vice-minister of industry and information technology, Wen Gang, chairman of CSSC, and Qatar's Minister of State for Energy Affairs Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi, who is also president and CEO of the Qatari company.

    QatarEnergy, formerly known as Qatar Petroleum, is a state-owned company that operates all oil and gas activities in the Arab nation. It is the world's largest provider of LNG.

    According to a news release from CSSC, the deal has become the largest single procurement of ships in the history of the global shipbuilding sector, though the company refused to disclose the order's value to maintain confidentiality.

    The contract is a testimony to CSSC's rising status in the global market, and also symbolizes China's rapid advances in the research, development and building of ultralarge LNG tankers, it noted.

    When addressing the signing ceremony, Wen said that CSSC has established and maintained sound cooperation with QatarEnergy and the two sides have joined hands to promote the green transformation of the energy industry.

    He said the Chinese shipbuilder will concentrate its resources and make all-out efforts to construct the LNG carriers. It will ensure that the ships are delivered on time, so that they can contribute to the expansion and transformation of the Arab state's energy sector.

    The 18 LNG carriers are of Q-Max class. The tankers are named after their country of operation and the maximum vessel length that can be easily accommodated into Qatari harbor and port facilities.

    The vessels were designed by Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding, a CSSC subsidiary in Shanghai. With the contract signed, the shipyard will now start building them.

    Chi Benbin, deputy general manager of the Shanghai company, said the shipyard is a leading manufacturer of LNG tankers in China and is among the few shipbuilders in the world capable of making such vessels.

    LNG carriers are widely regarded as one of the most sophisticated vessels, because they are very difficult to build, according to Chi.

    Each of the QatarEnergy carriers will be 344 meters long and 53.6 meters wide, and will have a draft of 12 meters. Each will boast an LNG capacity of 271,000 cubic meters, about 57 percent more than regular LNG carriers, Chi said.

    One such tanker can transport 155 million cubic meters of natural gas at a time, which can meet the gas consumption demand of 4.7 million households in Shanghai for one month. These specifications make the vessels the largest LNG carriers ever developed, he added.

    The world's largest LNG tankers are all Q-Max vessels, each with a carrying capacity ranging from 263,000 to 266,000 cubic meters.

    An industry insider, who requested to be identified as Lan, said that Western countries have long dominated the high-end LNG vessel manufacturing sector, while denying China access to related technologies.

    "Designers and engineers at Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding have spent more than 20 years on LNG tankers. Thanks to their relentless efforts, China is now able to design and build such world-class vessels that are reliable, user-friendly, cost-efficient, technologically advanced and environmentally friendly," Lan said.

    China-made LNG carriers are among the most popular in the international market, he said.

    In 2020, QatarEnergy made public an ambitious expansion plan to purchase more than 100 new carriers for its LNG-transportation fleet to meet the demand of its rapidly increasing liquefied natural gas output. In 2022, CSSC won a contract from the Qatari company for building 12 tankers, each of which is capable of carrying 174,000 cubic meters of LNG.

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