QatarEnergy reveals name of first LNG carrier in its massive fleet expansion program

State-owned oil and gas giant QatarEnergy has revealed the name of the first LNG carrier to be delivered as part of its historic LNG fleet expansion program.

Illustration only; Archive. Courtesy of QatarEnergy

On February 23, the company said it had named the first vessel “Rex Tillerson” in recognition of the former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of ExxonMobil, who also served as the 69th United States Secretary of State.

According to QatarEnergy, during his ten-year term as Chairman and CEO of ExxonMobil, Tillerson oversaw the consolidation of relations with the State of Qatar and its energy sector, resulting in strategic partnerships and significant investments in Qatar’s LNG industry.

The “Rex Tillerson” is expected to be put in service in September 2024 and is currently under construction at the Hudong Zhonghua Shipyard in China as part of a 12-ship construction program that makes up the first batch of orders from China in QatarEnergy’s massive LNG shipbuilding program.

QatarEnergy’s new fleet will be equipped with the latest maritime technology ensuring optimal operational efficiency and compliance with the most stringent environmental regulations, thus reflecting QatarEnergy’s commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship, the company claims.

Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi, the Minister of State for Energy Affairs and President and CEO of QatarEnergy, said: “This announcement is a testament to the remarkable achievements of an exceptional energy visionary, a man whose legacy will continue to be felt in Qatar for decades.

“As a result of Rex’s leadership, a long and fruitful strategic partnership that flourished from one of the oldest Qatari relationships with international oil companies, prospered and developed even further. For that, it is our honor to name the first LNG carrier built as part of our new fleet in his name, a tribute to his life-long accomplishments and a symbol of a special relationship.”

In 2022, QatarEnergy signed a series of time charter parties (TCPs) for the long-term charter and operation of 60 LNG ships, concluding the first phase of its fleet expansion program, which aims to support and meet future requirements of QatarEnergy’s North Field East (NFE) and North Field South (NFS) expansion projects.

The second phase of its fleet expansion program kicked off with a $3.9 billion order for 17 LNG carrier newbuilds placed at HD Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) in September 2023.

At the beginning of 2024, broker reports indicated that the company sealed a contract with Chinese shipbuilder CSSC Hudong Zhonghua shipbuilding for the construction of eight Q-Max ultra-large LNG carriers. The vessels will have a 271,000 cubic meter carrying capacity, making them the world’s largest.

Qatari heavyweight is also believed to be behind the latest massive order for 15 LNG carriers at Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI). 

On February 10, 2024, QatarEnergy revealed the first award in the second batch of long-term TCPs under the LNG fleet expansion project. The contract was awarded to Qatar Gas Transport Company (Nakilat) to own and operate up to 25 conventional-size LNG carriers.