China National Offshore Oil Company (CNOOC) will become the owner of 12 of the largest liquefied natural gas (LNG) tankers, to be built in the country.
The LNG tankers will be built by Hudong Zhonghua Shipbuilding, a unit of China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC) at a cost of about $2.4 billion.
China is the world’s largest buyer of the super-chilled gas, while CNOOC is the country’s largest importer of the fuel and among the state-owned companies leading a drive to expand capacity to meet rising import needs and facilitate fast-growing global trade.
CNOOC said it would partner with diesel engine maker Weichai Power and cargo transport specialist CIMC Enric to boost China’s LNG tanker fleet.
The three companies would work with the Guangdong provincial government to boost “green shipping”, they said, adding that the new vessels would utilise so-called fifth-generation LNG tanker technology that reduces fuel consumption and carbon emissions.
Each tanker can carry up to 174,000 cubic metres of LNG, equivalent to 108 million cubic metres when re-gasified.
The company, which first imported LNG in 2006, has already built 10 tankers and also engaged in joint vessel designing in tie-ups with CSSC.
CNOOC oversees the group’s business such as oil refining and natural gas trading, excluding offshore oil and gas production. The vessels are scheduled for commissioning between 2024 and 2027, CNOOC said.
- Reuters, with additional editing by George Russell