LNG prospects for the maritime sector according to the WSJ

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On August 23rd, the Wall Street Journal focused on the prospects for LNG in the maritime sector, by Paul Garvey. The article start from the next deadline of January 1, 2020, when the sulfur content of marine fuels will pass from 3.5 to 0.5% in all the seas (apart from those where this limit is already 0, 1%).

Despite the competition of the technologies for  the abatement of the emissions, the maritime LNG sector is being structured like a real market. Current consumption of marine fuels is about 5 million barrels per day of oil.

The main cruise ships and the largest freight companies have ordered 125 new LNG-powered ships and another 119 are already underway, according to the latest data from the marine consulting firm DNV GL.

The first large cruise ship fully fueled by LNG will be the AIDAnova of the Carnival Group, currently under construction at the Papenburg shipyard in Germany and will begin navigating at the end of this year. Carnival, which is the largest cruise company in the world, will have 11 new LNG ships between now and 2025.

Carnival is not the only one: MSC Cruises, based in Switzerland, announced in June the order of its fifth ship powered by LNG. This year Royal Caribbean also ordered two LNG-powered cruise ships. Among the large shipowners of the freight sector, Siem Industries is building an LNG vessel for the transport of Volkswagen cars, while CMA CGM has ordered nine new large container ships. Even Teekay Corp., one of the major ship owners, and Sovcomflot, the largest shipping company in Russia, are building LNG ships.

According to the WSJ the biggest obstacle for the spread of LNG in the maritime sector is the lack of the infrastructure for the buncherage.

Short-term and more flexible LNG sales are becoming common and producers are increasingly willing to trade individual loads: the percentage of LNG loads sold on the spot market has grown from just over 10% in 2010 to almost 25% in 2017.

Source: Wall Street Journal