Operator Statoil and five of the other licensees in the Snøhvit field in the Barents Sea have entered into a contract with Kawasaki Kisen Kaisa (K-line) and Mitsui & Co for the delivery of two special carriers for liquefied natural gas (LNG). The investment in the two vessels is estimated at over NOK 3 billion. The contract has been signed by Statoil on behalf of Amerada Hess, Norsk Hydro, RWE-DEA, Svenska Petroleum and Petoro. Each ship will have the capacity to transport 140,000 cubic metres of LNG from the Snøhvit field. The ships will be built at the Kawasaki Heavy Industries and Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding Co shipyards, both in Japan. They will be delivered before the Snøhvit field comes on stream in 2006. The LNG carriers have spherical tanks where LNG is stored under roughly atmospheric conditions. Four such ships will be required on the Snøhvit field. Statoil and its five partners recently signed a contract with Leif Høegh & Co and Mitsui OSK Lines for the delivery of one carrier. TotalFinaElf and Gaz de France intend to lift their share of the gas from the field with their own vessels. This gas requires a freight capacity equivalent to one ship. The contract is conditional on approval of the Snøhvit development by the Storting (parliament).