BP orders two tankers to develop LNG trade

Energy giant BP has placed an order worth more than $300 million with South Korea's Samsung Heavy Industries Co. for two new liquefied natural gas carriers�and options to buy a further three vessels�as part of a strategy to develop the group's international traded gas business.


LONDON�Energy giant BP today placed an order worth in excess of $300 million with South Korea's Samsung Heavy Industries Co. for two new liquefied natural gas tankers�and options to buy a further three vessels�as part of a strategy to develop the group's international traded gas business.

Construction of the vessels, which will feature the Technigaz MKIII containment system with a storage capacity of 136,000 cu m, will begin next April. Delivery of the first tanker is scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2002, and the second for the first quarter 2003.

BP said the vessels, which will be classified by Lloyd's Register, have been "specified to allow a high degree of flexibility and utilize the LNG experience of BP's shipping business" in their design, construction, and operation.

BP Gas & Power Chief Executive Richard Flury said the order was "part of a much broader set of investments and initiatives" embarked on by the group. He pointed to a recent deal to supply LNG to the Dominican Republic, the "securing of access to the North American gas market via Cove Point in Maryland," and the decision to invest in the LNG regasification and power station at Bilbao, Spain, as examples.

Meanwhile, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries News Agency (OPECNA) reports from Dhahran that Vella Marine, an affiliate of Saudi Aramco, has inked a deal with Hyundai for four new oil supertankers. Under the terms of the contract, which was of undisclosed value, the ship builder will construct the vessels�each with 300,000 tonnes storage capacity, for delivery in 2002 and 2003�to replace four tankers due to be taken out of service.

Vella has 15 vessels in service�one of the largest fleet of tankers in the world�and transported 25% of all Saudi Aramco's exported oil last year.

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