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LNG Shipping Market Going Strong

The LNG shipping market has benefited from increased demand for LNG and tonnage supply relatively modest. In a report issued this week, ship owner GasLog Partners said that “global LNG demand was 100 million tonnes (“mt”) in the fourth quarter of 2021, according to Poten & Partners Group, Inc. (“Poten”), compared to 94 mt in the fourth quarter of 2020, an increase of approximately 6%, primarily led by increased demand in Europe and the Middle East. European and Middle Eastern demand in the fourth quarter was primarily in response to seasonal heating demand, inventory re-stocking and a continued economic recovery. For the full year 2021, LNG demand was 386 mt compared to approximately 363 mt for the full year 2020, an increase of 6%. Demand growth in 2021 was led by China, where demand grew by approximately 12 mt, or 17%, and South Korea where demand grew by approximately 7 mt, or 16%. This growth was balanced by declines in Europe, where demand declined by approximately 6 mt, or 8%, and India, where demand declined by approximately 2 mt, or 7%”.

“Global LNG supply was approximately 98 mt in the fourth quarter of 2021, growing by 8 mt (or 8%) year-over-year, according to Poten. Supply growth in the fourth quarter was dominated by output from the United States (“U.S.”), which increased by 4 mt, or 28% year-over-year, primarily due to increased utilization of existing liquefaction terminals, but also due to the startup of new trains in the second half of 2020. Growth in U.S. production offset declines from many other supply sources around the world, including Nigeria, Malaysia and Oman, either due to continued feedstock issues or downtime. Supply for 2021 totaled 393 mt, an increase of 22 mt or approximately 6% over 2020. The U.S. led supply growth in 2021, up by approximately 25 mt, or 51% year-over-year, while Nigeria, Trinidad and Norway each registered a decline of over 3 mt, or 18%, 29% and 97%, respectively. Looking ahead, approximately 112 mt of new LNG capacity is currently under construction and scheduled to come online between 2022 and 2026”, the shipowner noted.

“Headline spot rates for TFDE LNG carriers, as reported by Clarkson Research Services Limited (“Clarksons”), averaged $149,000 per day in the fourth quarter of 2021, a 38% increase over the $104,000 per day average in the fourth quarter of 2020. Headline spot rates for Steam vessels averaged $107,000 per day in the fourth quarter of 2021, 47% higher than the average of $73,000 per day in the fourth quarter of 2020. Headline spot rates in the fourth quarter benefited from low vessel availability as well as LNG demand growth combined with LNG supply growth in the U.S. as detailed above and longer than average wait times at the Panama Canal”, GasLog Partners said.

As of January 21, 2022, Clarksons assessed headline spot rates for TFDE and Steam LNG carriers at $28,500 per day and $19,500 per day, respectively. Forward assessments for LNG carrier spot rates indicate rising spot rates through the remainder of the year. As of January 13, 2022, Poten estimated that the orderbook totaled 151 dedicated LNG carriers (>100,000 cbm), representing 25% of the on-the-water fleet. Of these, 122 vessels (or 79%) have multi-year charters. There were 82 orders for newbuild LNG carriers in 2021 compared with 34 in 2020.
Nikos Roussanoglou, Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide

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