The Anglo-Australian global commodities, mining and energy company BHP, whose assets include Australian LNG and gas stakes, said it would award a contract in the first quarter of 2020 after receiving 17 bids for the provision of LNG-powered bulk carriers for transporting iron ore to Asia.
BHP, a shareholder in North West Shelf LNG plant and the Scarborough gas field, said it was reviewing bids from natural gas producers, shipbuilders and financial institutions.
“Through this tender, we are seeking potential partners who share our ambition of lowering emissions to the maritime supply chain,” said BHP.
The company had opened the tender to what it described as a select group of industry leaders, from ship owners, banks and LNG fuel network providers.
The aim of the tender was to find a partner for an LNG-powered newbuild iron-ore carrier, or a shipping company willing to order one or several with pre-booked charters from BHP.
BHP, the largest charterer of bulk carriers in the world, launched its tender in August 2019 for the design and supply of LNG-fueled ships to transport up to 27 million tonnes of its iron ore exports to Asia.
“We sent requests for tender to 19 organisations, including banks, entrepreneurs, vessel owners and shipyards and 17 of them came back with very detailed offers two months ago,” said BHP Maritime Vice-President Rashpal Bhatti.
BHP said it was evaluating the detailed submissions before progressing to a clarification stage with the companies in January and subsequent negotiations in February before a contract award in March or April.