QatarEnergy has entered a deal with Qatar Gas Transport Company Limited (Nakilat) for the ownership and operation of nine LNG vessels, which is part of the state-owned petroleum firm’s fleet expansion strategy.

As part of the long-term agreement, Nakilat will charter and operate nine QC-Max vessels, each with a capacity of 271,000 cubic metres, according to a statement on Wednesday.

The vessels, which are part of QatarEnergy’s LNG expansion plans, will be built in China at Hudong-Zhonghua shipyards.

“These nine vessels… will be 100% owned and operated by Nakilat and chartered to affiliates of QatarEnergy,” the statement said.

The new deal follows QatarEnergy’s recent agreements with Nakilat for the ownership and operation of 25 conventional-size LNG vessels, thereby expanding Nakilat’s secured vessels to 34.

QatarEnergy has recently announced plans to expand its LNG production capacity to 142 million tons per annum (MTPA) before the end of 2030 to meet growing global demand.

(Writing by Cleofe Maceda; editing by Seban Scaria)