QatarEnergy has entered into a contract with Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) for the construction of 17 liquefied natural gas (LNG) carriers, in a deal valued at QAR14.2bn ($3.9bn).

The agreement with the South Korean shipbuilding company signifies the commencement of QatarEnergy’s second phase in its LNG vessel acquisition initiative. Each of the LNG carriers will have a storage capacity of 174,000 cubic metres (CBM).

The second phase is aimed at bolstering the Qatari company’s LNG production capacity, stemming from projects like the North Field LNG expansion and Golden Pass LNG export ventures, while also addressing its ongoing fleet replacement needs.

QatarEnergy had already contracted 60 ships during the programme’s initial phase, which are slated for construction at South Korean and Chinese shipyards.

The latest agreement raises the tally of confirmed new LNG carriers scheduled for delivery to QatarEnergy and its affiliated entities to 77, with more expected in the pipeline.

Qatar Minister of State for Energy Affairs and QatarEnergy President and CEO Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi said: “This is another milestone in our long-term relationship with HD Hyundai Heavy Industries and the Korean shipbuilding industry in general, which is built on the strong and strategic partnership between the State of Qatar and the Republic of Korea.

“These 17 LNG carriers will be built by HD Hyundai Heavy Industries to the highest technical and environmental standards and specifications.

“Further, the vessels are designed to achieve optimal fuel efficiency and significant reduction in carbon emissions. This emphasises our continued commitment as a leader in sustainability, innovation, and growth within the LNG industry.”

QatarEnergy stated that its LNG vessel construction programme is the most extensive ever undertaken in the history of the LNG industry. The initiative will have a crucial role in fulfilling its future shipping needs as it continues to grow Qatar’s LNG production capacity, said the company.

HD Korea Shipbuilding & Offshore Engineering Vice Chairman and CEO Ka Sam-hyun said: “We value our partnership with Qatar, and we are very proud of taking part in the world’s largest LNG new build project. We firmly believe that this opportunity will further consolidate the long-standing cooperative relationship between our two countries and companies.

“We are fully committed to contributing to this project with the most advanced technology and expertise to ensure safer, more efficient, and reliable transportation of LNG from Qatar to all over the world.”