With global LNG demand continuing to increase, Clarkson Research has revised its long-term LNG carrier newbuilding forecast, anticipating more than 500 vessels to be ordered between now and 2027
Citing the data in its latest presentation to investors, South Korea’s Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) said it expects the newbuild market to improve continuously with the global LNG demand increase. One of the leading LNG carrier shipbuilders, with some 143 vessels built, DSME estimates LNG carriers will account for 32% of sales in 2019. Of the 94 vessels in DSME’s backlog, 35 are LNG carriers.
This year shipowners are expected to order 40 LNGCs, increasing to about 65 vessels per year from 2020-2023, then easing to 57 vessels per year from 2024-27. Based on the overall forecast, 516 new LNGCs would be ordered, 40 this year, 260 LNGCs between 2020 and 2023 and 216 LNGCs between 2024 and 2027.
According to International Group of Liquefied Natural Gas Importers (GIIGNL), 57 LNGCs were delivered to the fleet in 2018 and another 77 vessels were ordered including 10 smaller than 50,000 m3.
In 2018, the global LNG trade had a growth rate of 8.3% year-on-year reaching 313.8M tonnes – more than treble 2000 levels – with new volumes being absorbed by China and Asia, according to GIIGNL. Overall, Asia accounted for 76% of global LNG demand, with Japan and China importing 82.5M tonnes and 54M tonnes of LNG, respectively. Shell estimates that global LNG trade will grow further to 384M tonnes by 2020.
Increasing volumes of LNG are expected to be shipped from Australia, Qatar and the US.
The increased LNG trade volume has led to a phenomenal growth of the world’s LNGC fleet. At the start of this year, the global fleet of LNG carriers was 563 vessels, 33 of which were floating storage and regasification units and 44 of less than 50,000 m3 capacity. Some 20 vessels have been delivered this year and another 20 are expected to join the fleet.