Clarksons Research is bullish on LNG prospects. The research unit of the world’s largest shipbroker has just published a report on LNG, predicting shipping volumes will grow 11% this year.
Steve Gordon, managing director of Clarksons Research, commented, “Global trade in LNG has moved into a strong growth phase, with a 9% increase in 2017 expected to be followed by further growth of 11% in 2018. With 85m tonnes of export capacity under construction and a further 169m tonnes of export capacity with FEED underway, further positive trade growth is expected.”
Highlights of the review include LNG trade represents 11% of global gas demand and 35% of global gas trade, up from 6% and 26% in 2000. Australian exports accounted for 48% of 2017 growth, with US exports quadrupling to 12.2 m tonnes. Chinese LNG imports grew 42% in 2017 to 39m tonnes, accounting for half of all trade growth.
There were 275 individual country-to-country LNG trade routes in 2017, compared to 168 in 2012 and 90 in 2007.
The LNG carrier fleet grew by 6% in 2017 in capacity terms to reach 531 vessels of 78.3m cu m, with expansion of 11% projected in full year 2018 and 8% in 2019.
The LNG carrier orderbook totalled 110 vessels of 17.3m cu m and $22bn by mid-2018, equivalent to 22% of fleet capacity. South Korean yards hold 70% of the market share by cu m, followed by Japan (21%) and China (9%). Recent newbuild orders have taken the total for the year to date to 35 orders worth a total of $6bn.
Short-term charter market conditions are improving, Clarkson maintains, with rates for a 160,000 cu m vessel averaging $61,692 a day in the first half of the year, up 64% year-on-year.