Tokyo-headquartered K Line has slowed its LNG carrier fleet-growth plans, and will increase its fleet to 57 – not 61 – ships in fiscal 2019, having pushed back delivery dates for its newbuildings.
As of March, K Line had a fleet of 41 wholly and jointly owned LNG carriers, down from 43 in fiscal 2011-2014. In fiscal 2015, K Line contracted three LNG newbuildings against US exports.
Writing in the latest K Line Report, president Eizo Murakami says: “We revised the target number of LNG carriers for fiscal 2019 from 61 to 57, because of delays in projects due to the crude oil price plunge, but the revised figure is up 14 from fiscal 2014.
“However, most new vessels are scheduled to be completed in fiscal 2020 or later, to respond to energy-demand growth in the medium to long term.”
Mr Murakami reiterated the company’s faith in LNG, describing it as “a stable profit business”. K Line has scaled back its five-year investment plan for all shipping segments. The group will now invest Y230 billion (US$2.3 billion) in 2015-2019, nearly a third less than the original Y330 billion budget.
The company includes LNG carriers in its Y95 billion strategic investment plan. Summing up its LNG outlook, however, the company expects “firm” demand for LNG in the medium to long term.
In 2018, K Line takes delivery of two newbuildings booked at Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) through a joint venture with Chandris. BP will charter the 173,400m³ vessels Patris and Kinisis to lift cargoes from Freeport LNG in the US.