(Bloomberg) -- QatarEnergy has signed four agreements to charter 19 liquefied natural gas carriers from Asian ship operators as it prepares to ramp up output.

China’s CMES Co. Ltd. and Shandong MarineGroup Ltd. will supply six vessels each, Qatar’s energy minister Saad Al-Kaabi said at a ceremony in Doha on Sunday. Malaysia’s MISC Bhd will supply three  and a joint venture of Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha Ltd. and Hyundai Glovis Co. will provide four. Each ship has a capacity of 174,000 cubic meters.

Qatar needs more LNG carriers as it’s raising its annual production capacity from the North Field to 142 million tons by 2030 from 77 million tons currently.

In doing so, the small Middle Eastern nation is set to re-establish its dominance of the global LNG market. Projects in Australia and the US have eroded its supremacy in recent years to the point where all three countries export roughly the same. However, the US recently imposed a temporary freeze on permits for new projects and Qatar’s investments in its new facilities has put it on course to take the lead again.

QatarEnergy signed another charter deal for 25 LNG carriers from Qatar Gas Transport Company Ltd., also known as Nakilat earlier this month. In addition to chartering vessels, it owns a fleet of LNG carriers. In 2020, it signed landmark deals worth $22 billion with Korean and Chinese shipbuilders.

©2024 Bloomberg L.P.