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QatarEnergy has signed a $6 billion agreement with China State Shipbuilding Corp. to build 18 liquefied natural gas carriers as it prepares to boost its output of the super-chilled fuel.

The shipbuilder will make the ultra-modern QC-Max size LNG vessels, each with a capacity of 271,000 cubic meters, at its Hudong-Zhonghua shipyard, QatarEnergy said in a statement on Monday.

Eight ships will be delivered in 2028 and 2029, while the other 10 will be delivered in 2030 and 2031, according to the statement.

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. The company signed agreements to charter 19 vessels last month.