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Korea’s major shipbuilders battle for lucrative LNG deals

Korea’s three big shipbuilders will be vying to win a series of liquefied natural gas (LNG) carrier orders scheduled for the latter half of the year, including an approximately $10 billion contract from Qatar.

Qatar Petroleum (QP), the state-owned oil company of Qatar, is currently in negotiations with Korea’s “Big 3” shipbuilding companies — HD Korea Shipbuilding & Offshore Engineering (HD KSOE), Samsung Heavy Industries and Hanwha Ocean — for the procurement of approximately 40 LNG carriers, according to a TradeWinds report.

This will be the second batch of the order, while Korean shipbuilders won 54 out of 65 vessels in the first round last year.

Hanwha Ocean won 19 vessels, Samsung Heavy secured 18 and HD KSOE landed 17.

Korean companies dominate more than 80 percent of the global orders for LNG ships.

Mozambique is also making plans to finalize orders for LNG carriers by the end of this year as part of its LNG project.

Currently, Samsung Heavy and HD KSOE are awaiting confirmation of contract volumes, which are estimated to be around 17 vessels.

LNG carriers rank among the most lucrative vessels, with an average price of approximately $261 million per vessel as of July. Given the ongoing surge in ship prices, there is anticipation that an influx of LNG carrier orders could help Korean shipbuilders achieve annual performance targets.

“Qatar’s second batch of orders could serve as an opportunity to reaffirm the price negotiation competitiveness of Korean shipbuilders,” said Kang Kyung-tae, an analyst at Korea Investment & Securities.

“During Qatar’s first batch of orders, the price per vessel was approximately $215 million, while for the second batch of orders, it is expected to be determined within the range of $235 million to $240 million per vessel,” added Kang, suggesting the total order amount could reach as high as $10 billion.

HD KSOE has already met its annual target by securing contracts for four ammonia carriers on Sept. 7, surpassing its target at 101.3 percent with a cumulative order amount of $15.94 billion.

Samsung Heavy has achieved 66 percent of its annual target, or $6.3 billion, while Hanwha Ocean has reached 21 percent, or $1.47 billion.
Source: Korea JoongAng Daily

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