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DOHA: QatarEnergy CEO Saad Al Kaabi announced on Sunday that the company has finalised a number of charter contracts with several Asian ship owners to bolster its shipping fleet by 19 LNG vessels ahead of a massive expansion in LNG output.

In a ceremony at its Doha headquarters state-owned QatarEnergy signed contracts to charter six vessels from CMES LNG Carrier Investment, six vessels from Shandong Marine Energy and three vessels from MISC Berhad. Those 15 vessels will be built at South Korea’s Samsung Heavy Industries, QatarEnergy said in a press release.

An additional four vessels will be operated by a joint venture of Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha and Hyundai Glovis and are being built by South Korea’s Hanwha Ocean shipbuilders.

The agreements signed on Sunday bring the total number of ships QatarEnergy has contracted to 104, the company said, 43 of which will be charterd by affiliate QatarEnergy Trading.

The 19 new LNG vessels announced on Sunday will each have a capacity of 174,000 cubic meters, QatarEnergy said.

QatarEnergy’s North Field expansion will boost its position as the world’s top LNG exporter.

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