December 9, 2023

LNG Carrier Market: Small-Scale LNG Reflects Highest Growth Prospects

The global Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) carrier market is witnessing significant growth, driven by the increasing demand for LNG across the globe. LNG has emerged as a commercially viable energy solution, particularly favored by developing economies. In 2019, global LNG trade reached 354 million tons, marking a 13% increase compared to 2018. While the COVID-19 pandemic had a temporary impact in 2020, LNG trade remains strong, with promising prospects ahead.

FLNG Revolutionizes LNG Logistics

The use of Floating Liquefied Natural Gas (FLNG) facilities has revolutionized LNG logistics. These massive setups extract natural gas from deep and ultra-deep offshore oil and gas reserves. The extracted gas is liquefied and stored in FLNG facilities, from which it is transferred to LNG carriers for cross-border trade. Once delivered, LNG is re-gasified for various applications, supporting the energy needs of nations worldwide.

Investment Opportunities Abound

The LNG carrier market is buoyed by arbitrage opportunities between supply and demand regions, including North America, Africa, Qatar, Australia, and Russia on the supply side, and East Asia, Europe, and emerging importers on the demand side. The dynamics between these regions create profit opportunities, further enhanced by a new wave of foreign direct investments (FDIs) in supply projects, driving the need for more LNG carriers.

Small-Scale LNG Emerges as a Trend

An emerging trend in the LNG industry is the growing interest in small-scale LNG. Investment in small-scale LNG terminals designed to cater to the needs of smaller demand and supply centers is on the rise. Export terminals are strategically located near small gas fields and distribution centers, while import terminals serve specific end-user segments.

Challenges Amidst the Pandemic

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic disrupted newbuilding orders, posing challenges for shipbuilders. LNG carrier newbuilding contracts decreased by 87% in the first 12 weeks of 2020 compared to the previous year. However, the market is expected to rebound as backlog orders and new contracts surge in the coming years.

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Large-Sized LNG Carriers Dominate

In 2020, large-sized LNG carriers, such as Mark III and Mark III Flex vessels, dominated the LNG carrier order book. These vessels are followed closely by GTT No. 96 LNG containers. Nevertheless, the highest growth potential lies in the small-scale LNG sector, aligning with decreased capital expenditure compared to large-scale infrastructure.

Asia Pacific Leads the Way

Asia Pacific is at the forefront of the LNG carrier fleet, with South Korea playing a prominent role. The region’s substantial economic growth emphasizes the importance of access to economical and abundant energy sources. South Korean shipbuilders, including Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME), have delivered a significant portion of the global LNG carrier fleet.

Key Players in the Market

Notable players in the LNG carrier market include MISC Berhad, “K”Line (Korea) Ltd., Nakilat, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, NYK Line, Samsung Heavy Industries Co., Ltd., Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd., Hyundai Heavy Industries Co., Ltd., Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co., Ltd., and Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd. These top players control approximately half of the trading fleet and account for around 30% of the order book.

The LNG carrier market continues to evolve, driven by global energy demands and innovative solutions. As the world seeks cleaner and more efficient energy sources, LNG plays a pivotal role in meeting these objectives.

Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends, and Forecast 2023-2030 – By Product, Technology, Grade, Application, End-user, Region: (North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America and Middle East and Africa)

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This press release first seen on Brilad