At the Mitsubishi Shipyard in Nagasaki, Japan, the enormous 294.6 meter vessel ’Seri Balqis‘ was officially launched. ‘Seri Balqis’ is the fourth and last LNG vessel chartered to Yemen LNG for the entire lifespan of the project.
In a special naming ceremony attended on Friday 27 February 2009 by delegates from the Ministry of Oil and Minerals, Yemen Gas Company and Yemen LNG Company, the vessel was officially named “Seri Balqis”. “The name is derived from the Queen of the ancient Kingdom of Sheba. A woman of power and wisdom – a tribute to its timeless endurance and regal might,” said H.E. Mr. Marwan Abdulwahab Noman, Ambassador of the Republic of Yemen to Japan, during the official naming ceremony.
In his speech to a group of prominent Japanese businessmen in the Energy Sector, Mr. Noman told that "such a partnership between companies like Yemen LNG, Mitsubishi of Japan, and MISC-Berhad of Malaysia represents a successful investment story. With this partnership, Yemen LNG will be joining the club of LNG producers and we will be exporting LNG soon.”
“I believe that we were able to contribute positively to Yemen LNG and our commitment to build the last of the 4 vessels with the cost of hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of manpower has finally paid off,” said Mr. Amir Hamzah Azizan, the President and CEO of MISC Berhad, “and we are all proud of the outcome,” he added.
“The ship is built with the latest maritime technology in the world and is built to withstand the elements of the high seas” said Mr. Yorihiko Omiya the President of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries ltd.
The vessel, ‘Seri Balqis’, has a cargo tank capacity of approx 154,600 m3 and is scheduled to be delivered to Yemen LNG on 31 March 2009. The first part of the name, Seri, is of a Malay origin and it means splendour, brightness or royal honour. ‘Seri Balqis’ is the second vessel that has been constructed by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) in Nagasaki, Japan for the ship owner, MISC-Berhad.
The first three vessels were completed during 2008 and were named Seri Balhaf, Maersk Arwa, and Maersk Marib.
Commenting on the event, Deputy General Manager of Yemen LNG Mr. Faisal Haitham, stressed that “today’s event represents another milestone confirming Yemen LNG's commitment to delivering project on time and the start of production is nearing soon”.
The vessels will transport LNG from Yemen to the North American market as part of the Company’s sales agreements with Total Gas & Power (TGP), one of the long-term buyers. In total, at least twelve vessels will be used at any point in time to deliver LNG from Balhaf to the three buyers, namely TGP, Suez and Kogas.
It is noteworthy that Yemen LNG is constructing and will be operating a two-train natural gas liquefaction plant with a guaranteed capacity of 6.7 million metric tones per annum (MMtpa), plus associated pipelines, storage and port facilities. The Project will monetise gas extracted from the fields dedicated for that purpose in the Marib existing fields of central Yemen. Yemen LNG has committed approximately %100 of the guaranteed Plant capacity under three 20-year LNG Sales and Purchase Agreements. Capital construction costs are around US$4 billion.