Due to increasing population and improved standard of living, demand for energy is growing globally. Trading of natural gas is expected to grow at speeding rates. Gas reserves are unevenly distributed across the globe. On the other hand demand is expanding in every corner of the globe which makes transportation of natural gas a serious prerequisite.
With the cryogenic liquefactions LNG is created which reduces the volume of gas as compared to its original volume, making it viable to transport in a specialized LNG carrier. The most opportune way to carry natural gas is a pipeline which is subdivided into offshore and onshore pipelines where onshore is for medium to short distance and offshore for long distance. Other means of carrying LNG is through vessels. The oldest LNG carrying technology Moss-Rosenberg containment system (commonly known as Moss) is still in use for new vessel construction. The second type of large-scale LNG carrying technology is the membrane technology.
The segmentation of LNG carrier market is on the basis of the demand and supply of LNG. The main exporters of LNG are Africa, Qatar, Malaysia and Australia. The main importers are Japan, China and South Korea. In North America, United States is expected to export shale gas owing to huge domestic production. In spite of Japan being concerned over environmental issues, pattern of increment in consumption of LNG in power sector can be seen in recent years. Australia, the United States, and Russia are key countries that will lead world LNG trade growth over the next few years. China and India are likely to come forward as key sources of prospects for natural gas consumption growth and hence affect demand for LNG carriers.
Increasing natural gas demand globally as various gas reserves are still unexplored. Natural gas is considered to be fuel of the 21st century; improvement in design of carriers is the key driver in the LNG carrier market. Restraints of LNG carrier market are infrastructure issues and Supplies from North America and Russia. Due to geopolitical issues LNG supplies to Asia Pacific are endangered as Russia and North America are the key suppliers. China is capable enough to diversify its natural gas supply from other countries and not become excessively dependent on countries that are politically sensitive. Natural gas prices vary radically between budding buyers and sellers of LNG. LNG Carrier Demand is subjected to Natural gas quantity and prices transported by pipelines. Value of LNG carrier market is expected to increase exponentially in coming years resulting in an immense opportunity. LNG carrier market is expected to experience the growth in coming years reaching record creation of vessel output and capital expenditure. With the expansion of both LNG export and import infrastructure and very strong supply-demand dynamics of natural gas market, more LNG carriers are required.
Natural gas discoveries in North America are leading to LNG export terminal expansion on the continent. In addition to such terminals planned in Australia, will create more supply routes that need to be serviced by LNG vessels. Underpinning all this investment in LNG carriers is the significant arbitrage opportunity that exists between supply and demand markets. As the LNG spot market expands, a larger and more flexible LNG carrier fleet will be required. There is also a justifiable interest in smaller LNG carriers as the economics of transporting LNG to isolated areas for power creation or for use as a transportation fuel improves.
Leading Operators in LNG carrier market areShell Royal Dutch plc, NYK Lines, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd., MiscBerhad, Teekay Corporation, Maran Gas Maritime Inc., Golar LNG Limited, BW Group, GasLog Ltd, and Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha, Ltd., among others.Leading shipbuilders in the LNG carriers includeDSME Co., Ltd., Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries Co., Ltd., STX Offshore & Shipbuilding Co. Ltd, Samsung Heavy Industries Co. Ltd., Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding (Group) Co., Ltd.,Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd., and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd., among others.