BP Building Six LNG Carriers to Support U.S. LNG Exports from Freeport Facility

BP shipping lng carrier
BP Shipping’s LNG carrier fleet currently consists of eight vessels. Photo: BP Shipping

BP says it is building six new, state-of-the-art liquefied natural gas (LNG) carriers to support its expanding global LNG portfolio and to respond to growing demand for lower-carbon energy sources around the world, the company announce Thursday.

BP says its finance partners KMarin and ICBC Leasing are investing over $1 billion in the LNG carriers, which will join existing vessels in BP Shipping’s fleet in 2018 and 2019.

The vessels will help service a 20-year liquefaction contract with the Freeport LNG facility in Texas, as well as other international LNG projects in BP’s global portfolio, according to the company.

“These vessels will significantly increase BP’s ability to safely transport LNG to anywhere in the world, directly supporting BP’s global natural gas strategy,” said BP Shipping CEO Susan Dio. “They also will be among the most fuel-efficient and technically advanced LNG tankers ever built.”

BP says the new ships are designed to be about 25 percent more fuel efficient than their predecessors, and will be fitted with a reliquefaction plant, meaning evaporated natural gas in the cargo tanks can be returned to the tanks as LNG.

BP has a long-term contract for 230 Trillion BTUs per year of LNG capacity in the Freeport LNG facility. The liquefaction facility is currently under construction, and the first train is expected to be operational by the end of 2018.

BP also participates in LNG projects in Australia, UAE, Indonesia, Trinidad and Angola. These projects include a mix of long-term, mid-term and short-term supply to enable BP to best meet the ever-changing needs of its global customers.

“BP has built a diverse LNG portfolio spanning both established and emerging markets,” said Alan Haywood, CEO of BP’s global supply and trading business. “Freeport is the latest example of how BP continues to expand the reach of our LNG business and serve our customers with flexible solutions through leveraging our scale, connectivity and relationships – and another sign of our commitment to remaining at the forefront of this rapidly growing and important global business.”

The 2017 BP Energy Outlook forecasts that global LNG trade will grow seven times faster than pipeline gas trade, such that by 2035 it accounts for around half of all globally traded gas.

In 2016, BP Shipping launched a fleet rejuvenation program with 32 new vessels set for delivery over a three-year period.