As a result, the UK-based shipping consultancy expects an
increase in ordering of small LNG carriers (less than 50,000 cbm) in 2019 and
Small projects, defined as facilities with production and
regasification capacity of less than 500,000 tonnes per year, are an attractive
investment opportunity for countries with low LNG consumption such as
Gibraltar, which has already set up a small LNG import terminal with a total
storage capacity of 5,000 cbm.
Asian countries such as Indonesia, Philippines and China,
along with some European countries will also see growth in the number of
small-scale LNG imports terminals, Drewry predicts.
“On the export side, the list of LNG exporters will continue
to diversify in the future as countries with moderate gas reserves develop
opportunities to export LNG. In the near term, we expect countries in Africa to
follow the lead set by the US by investing in small-scale LNG export projects.
In turn, this will generate demand for appropriate shipping capacity,” the
The existing fleet of small LNG vessels consists of 27 LNG
carriers and 17 LNG/LPG carriers, plus some LNG bunkering units, with majority
of ships engaged in petchem gas trades, posing no competition to small scale
LNG export projects..
“In order to achieve first mover advantage, some shipowners
have already started ordering small LNG vessels. Five small-scale LNG carriers
were in fact ordered in 2018 and in 2019 and beyond we expect to see more
orders for small LNG carriers. Small is therefore likely to become the new big
for the LNG shipping market,” Drewry concludes.
The most recent order saw Hyundai Mipo Dockyard secure an
order to build 30,000 cbm LNG carrier for Norway-based Knutsen OAS Shipping.
Ordering of large LNG carriers, a highly complex and
expensive ships, has been dominated by securing of long-term charters, with a
duration ranging from 10 to 30 years. Nevertheless, the market has been
experiencing some shifts in the ordering patterns in the recent years driven by
the development of commercial flexibility and shorter-term transactions.