Ras Laffan Liquefied Natural Gas Company II (RasGas II)on 10 October signed time charter agreements with South Korea's Maran Gas Maritimefor the long-term charter of four liquefied natural gas (LNG) vessels, to be built by Daewoo Shipbuildingand Marine Engineering Company, also of South Korea. At the same ceremony, a letter of intent was signed between the recently formed Qatar Gas Transport Company (Q-Gas) and Maran which allows for Q-Gas to take an equity stake of up to 30 per cent in the four vessels.
The tankers, with total capacity of 145,700 cubic metres, will be delivered to RasGas II between November 2005 and June 2008 and are being chartered for a period of 20 years. Signature of the agreement completes the acquisition process, launched in July, for seven of eight planned new tankers, and the final deal is due to be signed imminently with a Japanese consortium. In March, RasGas II, a joint venture between the US' ExxonMobil and Qatar Petroleum, raised a $550 million debt package to pay for four LNG vessels ordered from South Korea's Samsung Heavy Industries(MEED 12:3:04).
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