Norwegian shipping magnate John Fredriksen's Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) transport company
, Golar LNG, said it plans to expand beyond the shipping niche to handle the whole LNG logistics chain.
"In order to optimize the value of its fleet, Golar will have to extend its presence in the LNG logistical chain," Golar's Tor Olav Troim reportedly said.
A company spokesman said on Monday that this meant more than just buying into receiving terminals.
"It's not something we can do by Christmas, but we've been looking at both the supply end and the receiving end, and we can do a lot in the way of supply chain management," he said.
Troim said the move would be made through "direct investments or through partnerships/alliances with major industry players."
Tanker analysts said that LNG shipping requirements had traditionally been handled through long-term charters and Golar's approach was currently unheard of.
Golar raised $280 million in a private placement
in May with the intention of listing on the Oslo Stock Exchange this month and in New York later this year. Oslo Stock Exchange approved Golar's listing plans last Thursday.
Troim estimated LNG tanker demand would grow by 11.2 percent per year between now and 2006, while tanker supply growth would only increase by an average of 8.2 percent per annum between end 2000 and end 2004.
He said that between now and 2006 there was capacity at world shipyards to build 70 ships.
While only 36 of these ships would be needed for projects already underway, this number would rise to 96 if all planned and speculative projects went ahead.
Troim said Golar, which is 50 percent owned by Fredriksen, would gain from close co-operation with Frontline, in which Fredriksen has a 40 percent stake.