Iran plans to build high-tech LNG carriers

Iran has signed preliminary agreements with Korean, German and Chinese shipbuilders to construct high-tech LNG tankers as the country pushes to join the club of liquefied natural gas exporters.

“An MoU has been signed with a respectable German company which possesses the technology to build LNG tankers, with preliminary accords also reached with several South Korean and Chinese firms,” the man in charge of the project Esmail Sadeqi said on Saturday.

Under the plan, foreign shipbuilders would help Iran construct LNG carriers in the country’s shipyards on the coasts of the Persian Gulf, he said.

Iran has already prepared two dry docks in Bandar Abbas to design and build natural gas delivery vessels, Sadeqi added.

“The possibility of building LNG tankers and Very Large Crude Carriers (VLCCs) exists in the country. Hence, we plan to pave the way for construction of LNG ships through cooperation with a foreign company.”

Iran’s sprawling shipbuilding industry is chiefly devoted to constructing oil tankers and container ships as well as other maritime structures.

The country owns the world’s largest fleet of oil supertankers consisting of 42 VLCCs, each able to carry 2 million barrels of oil.

Iran has a large shipbuilding industry.

For LNG tankers, however, there is no established infrastructure and the country has to start from scratch.

“Through transfer of technology, we can begin constructing LNG carriers which have a complex technology,” Sadeqi said.

LNG tankers are special carriers which super-cool the gas to minus 162 degrees Celsius for long-haul shipments.

South Korea’s Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering and Samsung Heavy Industries are the world’s leading builders of LNG delivery vessels which are witnessing tremendous growth.

Head of the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) sees Iran joining the club of LNG exporters in the next two years, which would crucially strengthen the resource-rich country’s clout in the energy market.

Iran possesses the world’s largest proven gas reserves, with a potential to become a top producer. The country plans to build a capacity to export 40 million metric tons of LNG a year.

By Press TV