The investment in the two vessels is estimated at over NOK 3 billion. The contract has been signed by Statoil on behalf of Amerada Hess, Norsk Hydro, RWE-DEA, Svenska Petroleum and Petoro. Each ship will have the capacity to transport 140,000 cubic meters of LNG from the Snohvit field.
The ships will be built at the Kawasaki Heavy Industries and Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding Co shipyards, both in Japan. They will be delivered before the Snohvit field comes on stream in 2006. The LNG carriers have spherical tanks where LNG is stored under roughly atmospheric conditions.
A total of four such ships will be required on the Snohvit field. Statoil and its five partners recently signed a contract with Leif Hoegh & Co and Mitsui O.S.K. Lines for the delivery of one carrier. TotalFinaElf and Gaz de France intend to lift their share of the gas from the field with their own vessels. This gas requires a freight capacity equivalent to one ship. Approximately 70 LNG cargoes are due to be shipped annually from the field's land terminal at Melkoya near Hammerfest in northern Norway.
The contract is conditional on approval of the Snohvit development by the Storting (parliament).
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