Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd. today announced that on January 7, through a subsidiary, it signed a long-term charter contract for six newbuilding LNG carriers with CNOOC Gas & Power Singapore Trading & Marketing Pte. Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC). The vessels will be built at Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding (Group) Co., Ltd. in China, and are slated for delivery from 2024 through 2026.

The six vessels’ main assignment will be to transport LNG imports to China under a long-term purchasing contract with CNOOC Group, one of China’s major energy companies. MOL’s solid track record in building LNG carriers in China in addition to its performance in the LNG carrier business and safety in navigation and cargo handling earned high regard from CNOOC Group, leading to the successful conclusion of the contract.

The project was realized through a partnership between MOL and COSCO Shipping LNG Investment (Shanghai) Co., Ltd (CSLNG). MOL and CSLNG already jointly own and operate total 17 LNG carriers for the ExxonMobil project, an LNG transport project for China Petroleum and Chemical Corporation (Sinopec), and the Yamal Project. Building on the success of these projects, MOL and CSLNG have also concluded Project Heads of Agreement (PHOA) for collaboration on the new project.

LNG is drawing attention in China as an alternative to conventional fossil fuel due to increased awareness of the move toward low-carbon and decarbonization. LNG demand in China is expected to continue to expand, making the nation the world’s largest importer of LNG.