Clarksons predicts LNG trade will grow 11% this year

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.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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