American Shipper

REPORT: LNG SHIPPING ENJOYS “UNPRECEDENTED BOOM”

REPORT: LNG SHIPPING ENJOYS “UNPRECEDENTED BOOM”

REPORT: LNG SHIPPING ENJOYS “UNPRECEDENTED BOOM”

   Unlike most other sectors in shipping, the liquefied natural gas shipping sector is enjoying “an unprecedented boom,” according to a report by Drewry Shipping Consultants.

   The LNG trade will expand by 7 to 8 percent a year over the next decade, the London-based consultants said.

   “Ship demand is likely to grow even faster as long-haul movements from the Middle East and other remote areas… fuel the demand for more shipping capacity,” it said. By 2010, about 250 LNG ships will be needed worldwide.

   “The United States has been the focus of much of the recent boom in LNG,” Drewry said. Price increases for natural gas in the winter of 2000/2001 attracted a record level of LNG imports from around the world, and led to announcements of new LNG receiving terminal projects in North America.

   Despite the Sept. 11 halt to imports and the collapse of the energy group Enron, import levels have been rising again since April of this year, Drewry reported.

   Drewry also believes that long-term contracts in the LNG sector could be replaced by spot and short-term contracts, thereby encouraging speculative ventures and new entrants.