Algerian state energy company Sonatrach has awarded two Chinese firms a $40m deal to deliver a liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) carrier and an option to provide a second vessel, Reuters reported.

According to Ecofin Agency, Jiangnan Shipyard and China Shipbuilding Trading Company Ltd are to provide Sonatrach’s Hyproc Shipping Company, a carrier with a capacity of between 11,000cm and 13,000cm. The North African country already has eight liquefied natural gas (LNG) vessels and six LPG carriers, as well as two vessels to transport bitumen.

OPEC member, fifth largest supplier of gas to Europe, is boosting its transport capacity to meet growing European Union gas demand. It is due to host talks with EU officials and oil companies later in May on future gas supplies, as current contracts are due to expire in 2019-2021.