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Nakilat capable of meeting Qatar’s growing LNG vessel demand

Nakilat CEO Abdullah Al Sulaiti, said Nakilat has the capability to deliver any number of vessels that Qatar might need in future. The CEO was responding to a query from The Peninsula in the wake of the recent announcement by H E Saad bin Sherida Al Kaabi, Minister of State for Energy Affairs, that Qatar was looking to buy substantial number of LNG vessels to transport the increasing gas output.

The Minister had said that the country may require something between 50 and 60 vessels to transport the expanded output of LNG which will increase from 77 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) to 110mtpa by 2024.

Speaking to The Peninsula, on the sidelines of Nakilat’s Annual General meeting on Tuesday, Abdullah Al Sulaiti said : “The requirement is part of Qatar Petroleum and Qatargas strategy. As a company, we are ready and we have the capability to deliver the number. We will respond as and when it’s required.”

Currently, with a fleet strength of 70 vessels, Nakilat is one of the world’s largest LNG fleet comprising of 65 LNG carriers, as well as four large LPG carriers and one Floating Storage Regasification Unit (FSRU). Through its in-house ship management, Nakilat oversees the operations of 18 vessels, comprising 14 LNG and LPG carriers. The majority of Nakilat’s vessels are fixed with long term charters to quality counterparties, hence securing steady and healthy cash flow for the company.

Market experts said Qatar is in need for a significant number of new LNG carriers to complement its existing fleet as a result of Qatar’s plans to expand its production capacity from the current 77 million tonnes per annum to 110 mtpa, a 43 percent increase. It aims to achieve this by adding four new liquefaction trains that will produce around 32 mtpa of LNG, 4,000 tones/day of ethane, 260,000 barrels/day of condensate, and 11,000 tons/day of LPG, in addition to approximately 20 tons per day of pure helium.

According to an expert at the Doha-based Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF), the global LNG liquefaction capacity is expected to grow by 86 to 462 mtpa, while the LNG trade is anticipated to be over 310 mtpa in 2018 and over 350 mtpa in 2019, a growth mainly driven by Australia, US and Russia.

Aydar Shakirov, Gas Transportation & Storage Analyst at the Gas Market Analysis Department of GECF said in his research note that recent years have witnessed a steady and robust growth in liquefaction capacity and LNG trade volumes. From 2012 to 2017, the global LNG liquefaction capacity increased by 92 to 376 mtpa, the global LNG trade rose by 56 to 288 mtpa and the global LNG shipments grew by 707 to 4,702 cargoes.

The expanding global LNG liquefaction capacity, growing global LNG trade and increasing number of global LNG shipments require an adequate growth in the number of LNG vessels and their shipping capacity. The growing share of LNG spot trade, might lead to a shortfall in available LNG vessels starting from 2020, he said.

Abdullah Al Sulaiti said Nakilat is prepared to meet the 2020 deadline of the UN body IMO’s marine pollution protocol well in advance. The International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) has directed the global implementation of a cap on sulfur emissions for ships with effect from January 1, 2020. The IMO has made it mandatory to reduce the sulfur content permitted in ships’ fuel globally to just 0.5 percent or require ships burning fuel with higher sulfur content to be equipped with scrubbers to remove sulfur from ship exhaust.

“It’s not a question of you can or you cannot be ready. You have to comply with the rules. The rules will come into force in early 2020 and we have to be in compliance with the regulations”, he said.
Source: The Peninsula Qatar

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