mhiJapanese shipbuilders Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) and Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI) have received newbuild orders today from Astomos Energy Corporation to build a pair of very large liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) carriers.

According to a statement by Astomos, the newbuilds will be delivered in 2015 and 2016 from MHI and KHI, respectively.

The increased production of shale gas from North America combined with the expansion of the Panama Canal are the primary drivers for this order according to Astomos. The company notes the are also considering additional fleet expansion beyond this order targeting an increase in gross LPG handling volume from the current 10 million tons per year (mtpa) to 12 mtpa in 2015.

Astomos Energy presently operates a total of 23 large-scale LPG carriers. All six vessels owned by the company were constructed by MHI; of the remaining 17 time-chartered vessels, eleven were built by MHI.

The LPG carrier to be built at MHI’s Nagasaki Shipyard & Machinery Works, will measure 230.0 meters (m) in length overall (LOA), 36.6m in width and 11.1m in draft, with gross tonnage of 48,300 tons (t) and deadweight tonnage of 51,100t. The ship will have a capacity to carry up to 83,000 cubic meters (m3) of LPG.

At KHI, their newbuild will have a carrying capacity of 82,200 m3 of LPG.

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