Japan-based Imabari Shipbuilding has secured contracts for two LNG carriers from Spanish shipping firm Elcano.

Imabari will build these two LNG carriers at Saijo shipyard in 2017 and Elcano is ordering the vessels for use by Spanish gas operator Gas Natural.

The 178,000m³ vessels are larger than the 154,000m³ standard design and will be able to transit the expanded Panama Canal once it is completed.

The vessels are fitted with twin engines, twin propellers and twin rudders with an optimized hull form that will have an improved fuel consumption of 40% over a standard steam turbine vessel.

Imabari said it will continue to build high quality and environmental-friendly LNG carriers which can be highly rated by crews, flexibly suitable for diversified LNG trades after the shale gas revolution.