(www.MaritimeCyprus.com) There were 641 active LNG vessels as of end-April 2022, including 45 FSRUs and five floating storage units (FSUs). The global fleet grew by 9.9% with the delivery of 57 carriers and four FSRUs in 2021.
Most vessels delivered last year are in the 170,000 to 180,000 cubic metres (cm) size range. The second generation of X-DF and the new generation M-type, electronically gas admission (ME-GA) propulsion systems have gained popularity with 138 X-DF systems across both generations and 41 ME-GA systems on the order book, making up a
large share of a total of 217 vessels on order.
Demand recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, alongside stronger Asian demand catalyzed by a colder winter at the start of the year, Chinese coal shortage and stronger industrial demand towards year-end drove an 11.8% growth in the number of LNG voyages. This is in contrast to 2020 which saw limited growth from the previous year.
Charter rates were volatile through 2021, starting at a peak of US$190,000/day for steam turbine vessels, US$255,000/day for TFDE/DFDE vessels and US$290,000/day for X-DF/ME-GI vessels. This reversed rapidly as winter demand eased, before climbing as the
Ever Given container ship blocked the Suez Canal and Europe and Asia competed for cargoes. With gas pricing hitting record levels by October 2021, rates spiked again, reaching US$140,000/day for steam turbine vessels, US$210,000/day for TFDE/DFDE vessels and US$250,000/day for X-DF/ME-GI vessels in December 2021.
As the global shipping fleet turns to LNG to decarbonize and adhere to stricter environmental regulations, LNG bunkering demand and supply is growing. Bunkering of LNG-fuelled vessels can take place through different methods, including tank-to-ship, truck-to-ship and ship-to-ship transfers.
There are currently 84 LNG bunkering facilities at terminals and ports globally, with 49 in Europe, 24 in Asia, six in North America, four in Australia and one in South America. Providing ship-to-ship transfers, the LNG bunkering fleet grew by nine vessels in 2021 and two vessels in the first four months of 2022, bringing the global fleet total to 30. There are an additional 16 vessels on the order book, to be delivered across the globe. The typical size of these vessels is increasing over time – average capacity of the active fleet is 7,200 cm, while the average capacity of vessels on the orderbook is 9,200 cm.
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