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LNG carriers are pouring out this year. Shipbuilding Industry 'Expectations' for Second Order Qatar

It has been confirmed that Korean shipbuilders are discussing the second order for liquefied natural gas (LNG) carriers with Qatar Energy. Up to 40 ships are expected to be ordered from this project alone, and orders for ships centered on LNG ships are expected to pour in this year.

According to the shipbuilding industry on the 18th, three domestic shipbuilding companies, including Korea Shipbuilding & Maritime, Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine and Samsung Heavy Industries, began negotiations with Qatar Energy on the second volume of LNG ships from this week.

To this end, Qatar Energy officials reportedly visited South Korea recently. An industry official said, "It is difficult to confirm the Qatar Energy officials' visit to South Korea because they have confidential information," adding, "It is such an important project and the volume is large, so we want the Qatari side to keep it."

On June 1, 2020, Hyundai Heavy Industries, Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine and Samsung Heavy Industries signed a Slot Reservation Agreement (DOA) with Qatar Petroleum (QP), Qatar's national oil company, to build more than 100 LNG carriers by 2027.

The contract was the largest in the history of the Korean shipbuilding industry, valued at over 70 billion riyals (KRW 24.6 trillion).

At the time, Qatar announced that it would be more than double its natural gas production capacity by 2027. Accordingly, it is expected that LNG ships will be needed on a large scale, and slots (docks) of domestic shipbuilders were reserved in advance.

The volume of projects in Qatar began to be ordered in earnest in June last year. Last year, Korean shipbuilders received a total of 54 LNG carriers from this project. Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine has the largest number with 19 ships, followed by Samsung Heavy Industries with 18 and Korea Shipbuilding & Marine with 17.

The industry expects the second batch to come out this year to be about 40 ships. In this case, the three domestic shipbuilding companies are expected to order about 13~14 ships each. Recently, the new ship price has reached high, which is expected to greatly contribute to improving the profitability of shipbuilders.

According to Clarkson Research, a British shipbuilding and shipping market analysis firm, the price of LNG carriers as of December last year was $248 million (KRW 309 billion), which remains at a record high.

It is also positive that domestic shipbuilders have a large order volume and there is no urgency. The three shipbuilding companies have already secured deliveries in 2026 due to the boom in orders over the past two years. With LNG projects in Mozambique, Africa, resuming this year, competition for slots could intensify. This is why there are mixed voices inside and outside the industry expecting that the negotiations with Qatar will receive the right price.

In addition, new ships are likely to be equipped with the latest technologies, which could lead to higher ship prices. In fact, Qatar Energy is reportedly demanding the latest specifications for LNG carriers.

Another industry insider said, "The newly built ships will be equipped with a number of energy-saving and eco-friendly technologies," adding, "As many new technologies can be applied to Qatar volumes, there is ample room for ship price increases." [Newsis]

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