VV: 2022 saw over 160 LNG carriers ordered, with Japanese owners leading the pack

This year saw an ordering spree for LNG carriers amid spiking demand for LNG driven primarily by the ongoing geopolitical turbulence in Europe as the EU battles to break away from dependence on Russian gas instigated by Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Illustration; Image credit MOL

A total of 162 new orders have been placed so far this year, compared to 99 orders placed in 2021, an increase of c.63% year on year, data from VesselsValue as of the end of November shows.

The value of LNG newbuilding orders placed so far this year is $33,742.89 mil, an increase of c.87% from $18,076.25 mil.

Of these orders, just over a quarter were placed by Japanese companies including MOL, NYJ and Meiji Shipping, with 44 contracts inked. Out of the top ship-owning nations, Japan owns the highest value fleet for LNG vessels at $ 30.3 bn. South Korea ranked second with 28 orders placed this year, followed by Greece with 21 orders.   

MOL is the world’s largest owner of LNG carriers, with a fleet of 38 vessels and a value of $ 6.2 bn.

Over the course of 2022, MOL has placed 19 newbuilding orders for LNG vessels, this is the second largest number of orders by an individual company, NYK ranked first with 20 newbuilding orders, data from VesselsValue shows.

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All of the orders MOL placed were for Large LNG carriers of 174,000 CBM and the majority are being built at Hudong Zhonghua in China with three also on order at Daewoo, South Korea, and scheduled to be delivered between 2024 and 2028.

Notable new contracts include an en bloc order for two Large LNG carriers of 175,000 CBM from China Merchants, scheduled to be built at Dalian and delivered in 2026 for $ 235 mil each, VV value $240.79 mil.

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South Korean shipbuilders have been overwhelmed by the demand for LNG carriers this year, with its leading shipbuilders exceeding yearly targets driven by LNG carrier orders. Qatar’s North Field expansion accounts for a lion’s share of these orders.

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However, Chinese shipbuilders are right behind their Korean rivals as they build-up construction capacity and know-how in the gas sector to reap fruit from stellar demand.

Data from Clarksons shows that Chinese shipyards this year won 45 LNG tanker orders worth an estimated $9.8 billion, about five times their 2021 order values. What is more, by late November, Chinese shipbuilders’ LNG orderbooks grew from 21 to 66, giving them 21% of global orders worth around $60 billion.