The extraordinary LNG carrier orderbook, which features the highest order to extant fleet ratio, can be explained by one simple forecast. Clarksons Research is predicting a double of liquefaction capacity by 2028.
The newbuild orderbook now stands at 40% of existing capacity, up from 27% at start 2021, while 32% of existing capacity is steam turbine and there are uncertainties around the impact of upcoming EEXI and CII regulations.
Record LNG newbuild carrier contracting has seen 104 vessels of 17.4m cu m and $22bn ordered in 2022 as of mid-July, including around 30 for the Qatari newbuild programme. Gas carriers and containerships have elbowed out all other ship types at Asia’s premier shipyards over the past couple of years.
Clarksons’ latest forecasts suggest a doubling of the current 459 tonnes of LNG export liquefaction capacity by 2028, with 165m tonnes per annum of export capacity now under construction and a further 293m tonnes in FEED.
“The LNG industry is experiencing a significant expansion phase, with recent focus on energy security enhancing an underlying growth outlook supported by Asian gas demand, energy transition dynamics and a significant LNG export project program,” commented Steve Gordon, managing director of Clarksons Research.
The war in eastern Europe has had a massive impact on gas trading patterns. European LNG imports were up around 50% year-on-year in the first half of the year, with some US exports diverting to Europe rather than Asia and impacting average haul and tonne mile.
Clarksons is forecasting strong LNG trade growth of 5% in 2022 to 400m tonnes, with tonne mile growth projected at 3%.