With the world’s need for energy continuing to rise at the same time as the competing need to focus on decarbonisation, the demand for LNG is growing. The wheels are already in motion in the form of several infrastructure developments for new LNG export and import terminals around the world, and shipyard slots being snatched up ready for the construction of the next generation of carriers that will form the backbone of the future supply chain.
“We will likely see anything from 100 to 150 new vessels being built in the next five to seven years to serve the burgeoning LNG production market,” says Leonardo Ferrero, Senior Expert, System Development and Design, Wärtsilä Marine Power.
At the same time, the LNG charter landscape is shifting, with a trend towards shorter-term agreements, explains Stein Thorsager, Opportunity Management, Wärtsilä Marine Power. “In the past charter contracts have typically run for around 20 years, meaning the carrier vessels are purpose-built for the charter in question. Today we’re increasingly seeing shorter-term agreements of perhaps seven to ten years as well as more spot-rate contracts, and this demands more flexible vessel concepts so that the asset can continue to earn its keep even after the original contract has ended.”