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With global LNG trade patterns undergoing major shifts, the LNG shipping business is also having to adjust. The global LNG carrier fleet is set to grow further in the coming years, as more LNG projects come online and short-term charter rates fall in line with LNG spot prices. In this context, the onus is on owners and major charterers like Qatar to improve the performance and environmental efficiency of their fleet through cost and operational optimization.
A total of 162 ships are currently on order, which would add to the 442 vessels already in operation, Juris Popils from CS LNG shipping consultants said at the Global LNG Congress in London last week. This includes eight floating storage regasification units (FSRU) and five floating production storage and offloading vessels (FPSO) including Shell’s giant Prelude floating project. Ship orders rose significantly in the aftermath of the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and Fukushima nuclear accident – only 22 ships (excluding small-scale ships) were on order at the start of 2011.
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