Analysts: Demand for LNG Tankers Decreasing

Wednesday, August 02, 2006
Excess capacity in the global fleet of liquefied natural gas carriers will be at its highest this decade in 2008, as a growing worldwide fleet results in lower utilization rates, according to the Royal Gazette. Demand for LNG tankers has deteriorated markedly as a result of a large increase in fleet supply partly caused by speculative orders for new ships, industry analysts pointed out. Utilization of the LNG fleet will fall to 77.4 percent in 2008, almost 13 percentage points lower than at the beginning of the decade, data showed. Falling utilization hurts revenue for companies such as Oslo-based Bergesen Worldwide Gas ASA and Golar LNG Ltd. of Hamilton, Bermuda. Rising earnings for operating LNG tankers have encouraged some shipowners to order vessels without first having them assigned to particular projects. Improved productivity in the existing fleet has also added to the surplus capacity, analysts reported. The growth in the surplus is already slowing because supply disruptions from Indonesia are forcing Japan, the world's largest LNG importer, to source shipments from further away, tying up ships for longer periods. The global fleet of liquefied natural gas carriers will expand 16 percent by the first quarter of 2007, according to Oslo-based shipbrokers R.S. Platou a.s. (Source: Royal Gazette)

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