Chinese shipbuilder wins $2.8b Qatar tanker deal

CSSC says LNG vessel order an example of cooperation in global energy industry

by Nadeem Xu
Chinese shipbuilder wins $2.8b Qatar tanker deal
A tanker off Sakhalin coast. Ekaterina Chesnokova/ Sputnik via AFP

(ATF) China State Shipbuilding Corp, the world's largest shipbuilder, on Wednesday inked a 20 billion yuan ($2.8bn) deal to supply liquefied natural gas (LNG) tankers to Qatar Petroleum, the world's largest supplier of the fuel.

The deal is the biggest export transaction in China's shipbuilding sector.

The Chinese State-owned conglomerate, popularly known as CSSC, said the tankers would be built by Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding, its unit in Shanghai.

The deal was completed Wednesday afternoon via teleconferencing and was attended by CSSC executives in Beijing, Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding managers in Shanghai and leaders of Qatar Petroleum in Doha, capital of the Middle Eastern nation. 

Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding said it will construct the so-called G4+Changhui LNG carriers, which are capable of carrying 174,000 cubic metres of LNG and are characterised by their high speed, low fuel consumption and light weight.

According to Song Wei, chief expert for LNG carriers at Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding, the G4+Changhui model adheres to the strictest global environmental protection standards and is compatible with the various types of LNG facilities at more than 100 major ports around the world.

Lei Fanpei, chairman of CSSC, said at the signing ceremony in Beijing that the global energy market has been witnessing turbulence due to the coronavirus outbreak. Qatar Petroleum's decision to start the shipbuilding programme will help stabilise the international energy sector, he said. 

At the same time, the CSSC will showcase the project as an example of cooperation in the global energy industry.

Lei said both sides will further strengthen their collaboration and make bigger contribution to the global energy market, the Belt and Road Initiative as well as bilateral ties.

Qatar's Minister of State for Energy Affairs Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi, who is also Qatar Petroleum's president and CEO, said during the ceremony in Doha that China and CSSC are central to materializing Qatar's plan in the energy supply chain and also are strategic partners.

Chen Jianliang, chairman of Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding, said in Shanghai that many top-tier shipyards in the world were in the fray for the Qatari project.

Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding is a leading manufacturer of LNG tankers and is one of the 13 shipbuilders in the world capable of making such vessels, said Chen. He said his factory has manufactured and delivered 21 LNG tankers to users who are using them to transport fuel from around the world to China.