Gas Carrier Owners Eyeing Opportunities For Position In LCO₂ Supply Chain

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Owners are eyeing opportunities to position their vessels within the nascent LCO₂ supply chain. LR Lead Consultant Jack Spyros Pringle considers the role of the multigas carrier.

Flexibility As Key 

In a multi-fuel landscape, as is predicted by 2050, flexibility will be key. Industries are eying alternative fuels and solutions to power their plants, whilst governments are focussed on sustainable energy security. Ammonia, nuclear, and hydrogen, as well as LNG as a transitional form of power, are amongst the solutions that will all play a part in meeting the 2050 Paris Agreement of net zero GHG emissions by 2050.

As a carrier of nearly 90% of world trade, maritime is re-aligning its relationship with the energy industry as it seeks to capitalize on opportunities as they emerge.

One example is carbon capture, around which a supply chain is maturing as industries look to capture, safely store, or potentially reuse the gas. Conventional fuels, LNG, LPG, and grey ammonia release carbon when used, and capturing this carbon supports their use as a low emissions form of energy as part of the future energy landscape. Carbon capture usage and storage (CCUS) is being increasingly considered a promising technology to support the energy transition, especially in hard-to-abate sectors.

Cargo Specific Tonnage 

Lloyd’s Register data reveals that there are currently eight LCO2 carriers on order but only five in service, one of which was launched last year. The most recent announcement was in June this year (2024) for a 40,000cbm low-pressure ammonia-ready LCO2 carrier for Capital Gas Ship Management. This follows a further four orders of 22,000cbm vessels placed in late 2023/ early 2024 also from Capital. All five vessels are LR classed and will be built at Hyundai Mipo Dockyard in Korea.

With more LCO2 carrier-capable vessel orders expected, owners are considering whether to commit to cargo-specific tonnage or opt for higher specification multigas ships.

Both options have their merits, says Jack Spyros Pringle, a Lead Consultant in LR’s Business Advisory team. “By increasing the range of cargoes a vessel can carry, you are ultimately increasing the revenue earning potential of the vessel. You create the same multigas carrier, but use stronger steel so that it can carry heavier cargo,” he said, noting that LCO2 is approximately 65% and 92% heavier than ammonia and LPG, respectively.

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Source: Lloyd’s Register