LNG to Outpace Oil Trades After 2030


Surging demand for cleaner energy will lead to sustained growth in LNG shipping, according to a study by DNV GL.

The classification society projects that transport of other energy sources will slow after 2030, with natural gas (as LNG and liquefied petroleum gas) becoming the largest energy source as use of coal and oil declines, and gas consumption peaking by 2035. But gas shipping will grow beyond this peak because of developing demand in regions without domestic gas, as well as the use of new gas sources that cannot be connected to pipelines.

By contrast, global seaborne volumes of coal and oil will peak by 2030 despite projected growth in oil imports in some regions. Trade in energy commodities will decline as their use slows, starting with coal, followed crude oil and oil products.

The projections are part of DNV GL’s Energy Transition Outlook, which explores how global energy demand will change to 2050. As part of that investigation, the company has assessed the implications of its energy projections on shipping.

Remi Eriksen, group president and CEO of DNV GL, said: “Our Energy Transition Outlook shows that by mid-century, the energy supply mix is likely to split equally between fossil and renewables. Advances in energy efficiency will also see the world’s demand for energy flattening after 2030. These trends will impact all players in the maritime sector.”


The crude oil fleet will decline by approximately 20% (in dwt) by 2050, with the decline beginning after 2030. The product tankers fleet is expected to remain stable. The greatest increase comes in the gas segment, where fleet tonnage rises almost 150% by 2050 because of increased trade.

DNV GL predicts that only 47% of energy for shipping will be from oil-based fuels by 2050. The share of gas in the fuel mix will rise to 32%. More than a fifth will be provided by carbon-neutral energy sources, such as biofuel and electricity.

Knut Ørbeck-Nilssen, CEO, DNV GL Maritime, said: “The fuel mix that we see beginning to shift today will be much more diverse in 2050. Oil will no longer be the overwhelming fuel of choice for trading vessels. Natural gas will step up to become the second-most widely used fuel and new low-carbon alternatives will proliferate.”

Improved energy efficiency due to technical and operational improvement (including speed reduction) will see fuel use per tonne-mile reduce by 35–40% over the forecast period, with the largest reductions coming in the segments container, natural gas and other cargo.


Energy use for international shipping will increase from 10.7EJ in 2015 to 12.0EJ in 2050. Emissions of CO2 will decline by a quarter, from 800 million tonnes today to around 600 million tonnes in 2050. Despite this, shipping’s share of overall energy-related CO2 emissions is expected to grow from 2.6% to 3.5% over the forecast period as other sectors cut emissions faster.

DNV GL forecasts that trade measured as tonne-miles will experience 2.2% annual growth over the period 2015–2030 and 0.6% per year thereafter, driven mostly by non-energy commodities. Digitalization and improved utilisation of vessels will mean that the global fleet will grow slightly more slowly than trade.

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Source: The Motorship


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