Qatar Gas Transport receives 7th Q-Max LNG carrier

Eric Watkins
OGJ Oil Diplomacy Editor

LOS ANGELES, Mar. 12 -- Qatar Gas Transport Co. (QGTC) has taken delivery of the 263,000-cu m Al Samriya Q-Max LNG carrier, which will transport LNG to Europe from Qatar Liquefied Gas Co. Ltd.'s Qatargas 2 project.

The Al Samriya joins five other recently delivered Q-max ships: Mozah, Al Ghuwairiya, Umm Slal, Lijmiliya, and Bu Samra—all now on long-term charter to Qatargas Operating Co.

The six ships were all designed and built to lift cargoes from Qatargas 2, jointly held by Qatar Petroleum, ExxonMobil Qatargas II Ltd., and Total E&P Qatargas II Holdings Ltd.

The Q-Max ships carry up to 80% more cargo but require 40% less energy per unit of cargo than conventional LNG carriers due to economies of scale and the efficiency of the engines.

"The Q-Max carriers break the LNG shipping mold in nearly every way," said Neil Duffin, president of ExxonMobil Development Co, which brought the Q-Max technology along with joint venture partner Qatar Petroleum.

Built by Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co., the Al Samriya is the seventh in a series of 14 Q-Max ships that will be produced for QGTC by a variety of Asian shipyards.

In February, Samsung Heavy Industries delivered the Al Mayeda to QGTC, which said the vessel would be used to ship LNG from the Qatargas 3 project, under development by Qatar Petroleum, ConocoPhillips, and Mitsui.

The Al Mayed marked the first delivery of a ship for Qatargas 3, originally scheduled to start up this year but now delayed to 2010 as the schedule for all of Qatar's megatrains has slid by at least a year.

Delivery of the Al Samriya the week of Mar. 10 coincided with a statement by Saad al-Kaabi, head of Qatar Petroleum's oil and gas ventures, that Qatargas will launch its fifth LNG train, with a capacity of 7.8 million tonnes/year of LNG, by yearend.

Qatar Petroleum owns 65% of Qatargas 5; ExxonMobil holds 18.3%; and Total SA has 16.7%.

Contact Eric Watkins at hippalus@yahoo.com.

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