World’s largest LNG carrier delivers cargo to Tianjin terminal
Qatargas boasts fleet of 14 Q-Max vessels, each with a capacity of 266,000 cubic metres of LNG
25 Nov 2020 | Michael Marray

Qatargas has delivered a cargo of liquified natural gas to the Tianjin LNG receiving terminal in China, using a Q-Max vessel – the world’s largest type of LNG carrier. The Tianjin LNG Receiving Terminal is owned and operated by China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation (Sinopec). It has a capacity of 6 million metric tonnes per year, and is currently being expanded to handle up to 10.8 MMtpy by 2022. The terminal received its first LNG cargo in February 2018, and to date has received more than 200 LNG cargoes.

Qatargas currently has a fleet of 14 Q-Max vessels, each of which can deliver 266,000 cubic metres of LNG. The cargo aboard the Qatargas-chartered LNG vessel, Al Mafyar, was loaded at Ras Laffan on October 21, and delivered to the Tianjin Terminal on November 10.

China has a total of 22 LNG receiving terminals (including three small-scale terminals), 11 of which can accommodate Q-Max LNG vessels.

In June this year Qatar Petroleum, which owns majority stakes in the various Qatargas operating units, entered into three agreements to reserve LNG ship construction capacity in South Korea, to be utilized for Qatar Petroleum's future LNG carrier fleet requirements, including those for the ongoing expansion projects in the North Field and in the United States.

Under the agreements, the big three Korean shipyards – Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering, Hyundai Heavy Industries and Samsung Heavy Industries – will reserve a major portion of their LNG ship construction capacity for Qatar Petroleum through the year 2027.

Qatar is moving ahead with its North Field expansion projects, which will raise Qatar's LNG production capacity from 77 million tonnes per annum today to 126 million tonnes per annum by 2027. The vessel orders will meet expanded LNG production capacity requirements, as well as long-term fleet replacement.

This is the largest LNG shipbuilding programme in history, and Qatar Petroleum has secured approximately 60% of the global LNG shipbuilding capacity through 2027 to cater for its LNG carrier fleet requirements in the next seven to eight years. This could involve more than 100 new vessels, with a programme value in excess of US$19 billion.