A joint venture (JV) between Japan’s Mitsui O.S.K. Lines and China Shipping Group has awarded a contract for three vessels while the remaining six vessels have been ordered by a JV between Canada’s Teekay LNG Partners and China LNG Shipping worth about $2.1bn.

Expected to start operations in early 2018, the project includes the development of the South Tambey gas field, located near Sabetta in the Yamal peninsula in Russia.

Novatek holds a 60% stake in the project, while Total and China National Petroleum each own a 20% interest.

Teekay GP chief executive officer Peter Evensen said that the six newbuilds will both increase and extend the average duration of Teekay LNG’s current fixed-rate contact portfolio, providing further long-term stability for the partnership’s cash flows.

"These vessels also add to Teekay LNG’s existing pipeline of growth projects scheduled to deliver between now and 2020, which includes our five MEGI LNG carrier newbuildings, 10 LPG carrier newbuildings ordered through our Exmar LPG joint venture, and our ownership interest in four LNG carrier newbuildings that will be chartered to BG Group," Evensen added.