RASGAS CONSIDERS THE SAFE AND RELIABLE TRANSPORTATION OF LNG A VITAL LINK IN BUILDING ITS REPUTATION AS A WORLD LEADING LNG PRODUCER.
Shipping is an integral part of the RasGas LNG supply chain and one of the most important links to ensure secure and reliable delivery of LNG to RasGas’ global customer base. The company has acquired a long-term charter fleet of LNG tankers. The fleet currently contains 27 vessels: 14 conventional LNG vessels with a cargo-carrying capacity of 138,000m3 to 151,700m3, and 13 large LNG vessels, with significantly greater capacity.
The RasGas charter fleet has been built through a series of time charter agreements with separate shipping companies and consortia, including Qatar Shipping, Maran Gas Maritime, the Japanese-led consortium of Mitsui OSK, NYK, K-Line (an AP Moeller and Qatar Shipping consortium), the J5 Nakilat and Teekay Nakilat Corporation. The first ship in the fleet, the Fuwairit, entered service in February 2004 and recently celebrated its 100th cargo loading at Ras Laffan.
Between May and September 2008, RasGas took delivery of 12 Q-Flex vessels, each with a capacity ranging from 210,000m3 to 217,000m3. The milestone agreement with J5 Nakilat and Teekay Nakilat was, at the time of signing, one of the largest-ever commercial shipping contracts. The carrying capacity of the Q-Flex ships puts RasGas in an even better position to serve its customers’ needs and offers economies of scale. Because
Q-Flex ships allow more LNG to be transported per journey, it lowers the transportation cost per unit of LNG. Despite their size, Q-Flex LNG vessels can still access approximately two-thirds of LNG terminals worldwide.
In October 2009, RasGas took delivery of its first 266,000m3 Q-Max vessel, the Al Dafna. This completed the fleet of ships ordered as part of RasGas’ shipbuilding programme.
Q-Max LNG vessels are currently the largest LNG carriers in the world. As with the Q-Flex LNG vessels, the improved carrying capacities of Q-Max ships result in lower transportation costs per journey compared to conventional LNG ships. While the Q-Max LNG vessels are beyond the capacity of some ports, nearly half of the world’s existing LNG terminals can, or with some modifications could, accommodate these ships.
Since the beginning of its LNG shipbuilding programme, through economies of scale and propulsion, RasGas has reduced the cost of transportation by 30 to 35 percent, giving Qatar a powerful competitive advantage.
Q-Max LNG tankers are among the largest ships on the oceans today:
- Length – 345m
- Power – 51,400 horsepower (bhp)
- Capacity – 266,000m3