Qatar Petroleum (QP) has signed a QR11bn ($3.01bn) agreement to reserve liquefied natural gas (LNG) ship construction capacity in China that will be used for the future LNG carrier fleet requirements.

The agreement was signed with China State Shipbuilding Corporation’s (CSSC) subsidiary Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding Group where the capacity will be reserved until 2027 for QP.

The officials from both companies signed the agreement in a virtual ceremony due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Qatar Minister of State for Energy Affairs Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi said: “Today, we have taken yet another concrete step to reinforce Qatar’s commitment to its global reputation as a safe and reliable LNG producer at all times and under all circumstances.

“By entering into this agreement to reserve a major portion of Hudong’s LNG ship construction capacity through the year 2027, we are confident that we are on the right track to ensuring that our future LNG fleet requirements will be met in due time to support our increasing LNG production capacity.”

CSSC chairman Lei Fanpei added: “The 174,000m³ LNG carrier for Qatar Petroleum is the latest generation of LNG carrier design customised by CSSC for Qatar. The carrier has the world’s leading performance for efficiency, reliability and environmental conservation, demonstrating CSSC Group’s great efforts and commitment to the success of Qatar Petroleum’s projects.”

The agreement will also cover the North Field expansion projects, which are expected to boost the country’s LNG production capacity to 126 million tonnes each year from 77 million tonnes.

The QP’s LNG carrier fleet programme is considered to be the largest in the LNG industry and will help the company to meet the requirements of the local and national LNG projects. It is also expected to replace a part of current Qatar’s LNG fleet.