If Demand Rises, LNG Fleet May Expand 7.5% In 2023

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  • The global LNG vessel fleet could expand by 7.5% this year amid growing demand for the chilled fuel and increasing capacity, according to analyst projections.
  • Energy Aspects estimates that the fleet’s 639 vessels have 100mcm of capacity or 54m deadweight tonnes.

A recent news article published in the Montel News states that LNG fleet may expand 7.5% in 2023 as demand grows.

48 LNG carriers

“We estimate that 48 LNG carriers will be added to the fleet this year, and an additional 71 in 2024,” said Energy Aspects LNG analyst Leo Kabouche, pointing out Qatar as “the most active on the orders front”.

“[Qatar] needs additional carriers to move volumes from the planned Golden Pass facility in the US, and the North Field East and North Field South expansions,” he said.

The 24bcm/year Golden Pass LNG facility in Sabine Pass, Texas, is due to start production next year, while Qatar’s own LNG production is expected to grow from 105bcm now to 171bcm/year by 2027.

Kabouche reckons that state-owned oil and gas firm QatarEnergy has already ordered at least 18 carriers that will be delivered in 2024-26.

Additions so far

The global LNG fleet of all sizes has grown by nine vessels so far this year, following the 34 additions in 2022 and a record 60 in 2021, according to Maersk Broker.

One analyst at the shipbroker said the global fleet could swell to 705 vessels by the end of the year, from 672 at the end of February, or 648 when excluding small-size vessels, from 625 at present.

“No ships have been scrapped so far this year,” he said, noting the estimates therefore indicated net fleet expansion.

“The orderbook is quite large,” said Burak Cetinok, head of research at Arrow Shipbroking Group. More than 300 large LNG carriers were on order, he said, estimating the fleet of 645 vessels with more than 0.1mcm capacity now on the water to expand by 50% by 2028.

Demolition uncertainty

As new cargoes get built, others will be scrapped.

“There will be some demolitions this year and going forward, but pinpointing exactly how many is difficult as many different factors must be considered on an individual ship basis,” said the LNG analyst with Energy Aspects.

“Steam turbine carriers, which emit 20-30% more CO2 than newer vessels, are particularly at risk of demolitions because of the new [International Maritime Organization] regulations,” said Kabouche, regarding newly imposed rules agreed by the UN body to cut carbon intensity from all ships by 40% by 2030, compared with 2008.

While some vessels could be converted to floating storage or floating storage units (FSU) and regasification units (FRSU), only a “handful of yards” had the capabilities to undertake such conversions, he said.


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Source: Montel News



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