Rates for LNG carriers have boomed of late, with ship owners, active in this niche market, already reaping the benefits. In a recent note, Golar LNG said that “increasing US LNG production and start-up of Yamal T2 together with strong Asian demand and rising ton miles prompted a number of multi-month and multi-year charters ahead of the summer cooling season. Vessel availability declined and rates increased, briefly surpassing their 2017 winter highs. Activity then eased over the summer months before regaining its positive momentum in September as strong end-user demand and rising oil prices fed through to increasing LNG prices, vessel fixtures, and spot rates approaching $100,000 per day. Newbuild deliveries also began to decline and commercial terms for Pacific basin fixtures exceeded those in the Atlantic for the first time since 3Q 2014. JKM and European gas prices ended the quarter up 86% and 43% respectively year-on-year, once again driven by strong demand from China and Korea. Comprised of a TCE1 of $48,100 in respect of its TFDE fleet (taking into account the dry-docking of one vessel during the quarter) and $11,000 for its two steam vessels, Golar recorded a 3Q 2018 TCE1 of $41,200 per day, up 210% on the $13,300 per day achieved in 3Q 2017 and 110% on the $19,600 achieved in 2Q 2018”.
According to Golar LNG, “dominated by new US volumes, LNG trade is expected to increase by 10% per annum from 290 million tons in 2017 to around 388 million tons in 2020. According to industry analysts, ton mile demand is expected to increase by 40+% over the same time frame. Annual fleet growth of 5% through to 2020, will, according to industry analysts, not be sufficient to meet this demand. Leading brokers continue to expect a 30-40 vessel shortfall. As of today there are minimal prompt available vessels worldwide and it is no longer possible to order a vessel for delivery before 2021. Multi-month and multi-year contracts continue to present themselves adding upward pressure on rates. The reactivated steam vessel Golar Viking is in the process of concluding an 11-month charter at a rate that is expected to improve the Adjusted EBITDA1 of the company by $17 million relative to the vessel’s layup position. Spot rates in excess of $100,000 are now routinely being achieved for TFDE vessels with some vessels being fixed on short-duration voyages at substantially higher rates. As previously indicated, Golar is working with other ship owners to establish a consolidated structure that will allow LNG shipping investors more direct exposure to the LNG shipping market. Some progress with these discussions has been made in the last quarter”, the shipowner concluded
It’s worth noting that LNG shipping rates spiked during September, a trend likely to persist through next year as well, on increasing production from new plants, while tonnage supply won’t be able to keep up with demand. In a recent report, Reuters said that “the rate for vessels shipping LNG from the Atlantic Basin to Asia has jumped to $90,000 to $95,000 a day this week from $75,000 a day at the end of August, brokers and traders said. Rates, which broadly hovered around $30,000 to $40,000 a day from 2015 to 2017, have risen due to longer distances covered to transport LNG from new terminals in the United States and Arctic Russia, surging demand in China and a limited number of ships”, said Reuters
Source: Hellenic Shipping News.