Japanese, Koreans shortlisted for LNG tankers

11 April 2003
The Finance Ministry has shortlisted four shipyards for the contract to deliver two liquefied natural gas (LNG) tankers, with an option for two more vessels. A Japanese team of Mitsubishi Heavy Industrie, with Kawasaki Shipbuilding Corporationis low bidder with a base price of RO 151 million ($377 million), followed by three South Korean yards led by Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering, Hyundai Heavy Industriesand Samsung Heavy Industries. Four other companies bid for the contract, with prices ranging up to RO 171 million ($427 million - MEED 15:11:02).

Each tanker will have capacity to carry 135,000 cubic metres of LNG. A new entity, Oman Shipping Company, which is to be wholly owned by the government, is being formed to manage and operate the vessels. Yards have also been asked to supply detailed financing proposals with their offers. Bankers looking at the deal expect the financing to be structured on a mortgage basis against the value of each vessel.

The tankers will initially be responsible for delivering shipments of LNG to Spain under an agreement signed by the government and the Spanish utility Union Fenosa Gasfor the supply of 1.6 million tonnes a year of LNG starting in 2006. Japan's Mitsui OSK Linesis acting as technical adviser to the government on its LNG shipping requirements (MEED 28:3:03; 7:6:02).

Last year, the government placed a contract with the Kawasaki yard for a 145,000-cubic-metre LNG tanker, to be named Muscat LNG, that will be used to deliver gas from the existing two Oman LNGtrains in Sur. The vessel will join the Sohar LNG tanker, formerly known as the Lakshmi, which the government acquired a stake in last year when it took a 40 per cent share in Greenfield Shipping Company. It is understood that both vessels will eventually be incorporated into the fleet of Oman Shipping, creating a flotilla of vessels serving Oman's international LNG customers on a carriage insurance freight (cif) basis (MEED 29:11:02).

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