If there is one industry that benefits from the global energy transition, it is that of LNG carriers. With their huge tanks, these ships, which are responsible for transporting the liquefied natural gas (LNG) very popular with Asians, have also been more visible on European shores since the start of the war in Ukraine. “In six months we received more orders than in the whole of 2021”explains Philippe Berterottière, CEO of Gaztransport & Technigaz (GTT), a French design firm whose engineers draw up the blueprints for these buildings around the world.
In the first half, the company, which employs 600 people, signed a record number of orders for 88 vessels, up from 68 in 2021 for the full year. What needs to be ensured, she says, is a well-stocked order book through 2026, even if those signatures and those of 2021 have not yet fully impacted the activity of the first half of 2022 (114.2 million in sales). In fact, the company has experienced delays in the construction schedule. Setbacks result from “Delivery difficulties in connection with the sanctions regime [visant la Russie] » Where of “Containments and Social Movements in Asia”.
Currently, 210 LNG tankers are being built in shipyards around the world, mainly in South Korea and China, with the aim of being delivered mainly in their region by 2026. Because Beijing, with 30% of the orders, and Seoul are the main buyers today.
“ Asians tend to stock up on LNG to avoid using overly polluting coal. But when prices are too high, as they are at the moment, they prefer to reopen their facilities and resell some of their LNG to Europe.”explains the head of GTT, while China reduced its consumption by 10% in the first half of the year. “ Currently, ships bound for Asia are often diverted to Europe, where Asians resell their cargo at four times the price they buy it for under long-term contracts.he says.
In addition to this Asian demand, there are other parameters that explain the need for infrastructure in the coming years. how it happens “ the expected acceleration of LNG tanker orders from Qatar” as well as “ the increase in LNG demand in Europe ». According to consultancy Wood Mackenzie, European imports could increase by 40% in 2022. The International Energy Agency, for its part, speaks of an increase of 25%.
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