As Qatar ramps up its exports of LNG, Qatar Gas Transport Company (Nakilat) has built one of the largest LNG fleets in the world. Nakilat (‘carrier’ in Arabic) currently owns 16 percent of global LNG shipping tonnage. Its LNG fleet includes nine conventional vessels (146,000–154,000 m3), 31 Q-Flex carriers (210,000–216,000 m3) and 14 Q-Max ships (263,000–266,000 m3).
Qatar’s massive investment in liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities is the driving force behind the state’s phenomenal economic growth. In recent years, some of the world’s most advanced energy projects have been undertaken by Qatar Petroleum, RasGas, its sister company Qatargas and their joint venture partners.
Investing in the Qatari-based marine infrastructure to support this global economic supply line has been a key project.
Formed in 2007 by a partnership between Nakilat and Singapore-based shipbuilder, Keppel Offshore and Marine, Nakilat-Keppel Offshore & Marine (N-KOM) at Ras Laffan Port is one of the world’s leading yards for LNG repairs.
As the top image indicates, they are quite busy too…
Seven LNG carriers (Al Jasra, Al Bidda, Al Wajbah, Dukhan, Al Gharrafa, Al Rayyan and Al Thumama) will soon be undergoing drydocking repairs, including the overhauling of the main engine, valves, pumps and other general repairs and maintenance. Most of these vessels are jointly owned by a consortium of Japanese shipping companies: Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd (MOL), Nippon Yusen Kaisha Line (NYK), Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha Ltd (“K” Line), with Al Gharrafa being technically managed by OSG Shipmanagement (UK) Ltd.
Mr Shinji Ono, Fleet Manager from MOL LNG Shipmanagement division said, “MOL has previously repaired three LNG carriers in N-KOM. The shipyard’s commitment to delivering quality and timely services made it an obvious choice for us when it came to drydocking another three LNG carriers with them this time round.”
Supporting his view is Mr Djamel Mokhtefi, Head of Operation (Fleet 1) of Qatargas, who is overseeing the drydocking and repairs of the five QG1 and one Q-flex vessel. “Qatargas has had a longstanding partnership with N-KOM, with a significant portion of our fleet being serviced by the yard. We continue to be impressed with the high level of quality and professionalism demonstrated.”
As well as its partnership with Keppel Offshore & Marine, Nakilat has pieced together a follow-on joint venture with Damen Shipyards Group, which specializes in building high-value commercial and naval vessels and custom luxury yachts up to 120 meters in length.
Nakilat Damen Shipyards Qatar (NDSQ) signed an agreement in March 2010 with Qatari Emiri Naval Forces for the construction of six naval patrol boats, and with Qatar Petroleum (on behalf of the port of Mesaieed) to build 19 vessels including harbour tugs, pilot and service boats. NakilatKeppel will also provide maintenance services and logistical support to the Qatari Navy.
These important contracts are wholly consistent with the Qatar National Vision 2030 to expand and develop Qatar’s industrial base, by creating a new marine industries and services sector. They also demonstrate the strategic value of a premier shipyard facility in Qatar to meet the needs of the Ministry of Defence and Emiri Naval Forces.
“The service and maintenance of our ships is critical to our operations,” said Hamad Rashid Al Mohannadi, who is also Chairman of Nakilat’s board of directors. “Now we have the highest quality marine facilities and world-leading expertise right here in our home port of Ras Laffan. With Nakilat’s ultra-modern fleet of purpose-built ships we have opened up world markets for Qatar’s LNG. The Erhama Bin Jaber Al Jalahma Shipyard further supports the safe and reliable delivery of LNG to all of our customers, by providing us with the finest facilities to service and maintain our long-term chartered fleet of LNG tankers.”