LNG Shipping Outlook Positive on Growing Demand and Enhanced Supply Coming Online says Ship-owner
With a significant forecast increase in LNG supply and a growing number of new demand centres, the demand outlook for LNG carriers with long-term charters remains positive, said ship owner Gas Log during the week. The company noted that “we continue to see tenders for multi-year charters for vessels, which we expect will be used to transport volumes from new liquefaction facilities coming online over the coming years. We believe that these new LNG volumes will create demand for additional ships over and above those available in the market today”.
According to GasLog’s data “in the fourth quarter, there were several announcements which highlighted continued growth of LNG supply and shipping demand. BP committed to purchase 100% of the LNG produced by ENI’s Coral South Floating LNG (“FLNG”) facility. The facility is expected to be installed offshore Mozambique and to have a capacity of approximately 3.3 million tonnes per annum (“mtpa”). This commitment allowed ENI to authorize development of the project. BP also announced an investment of approximately $1 billion to develop gas reserves offshore Mauritania and Senegal and to create a new LNG hub in Africa. PETRONAS’ 1.2 mtpa Malaysian FLNG facility was one of eight LNG liquefaction projects that successfully came online in 2016 (others include Sabine Pass, Australia Pacific, Gladstone and Gorgon). Total announced a $207 million investment in Tellurian’s Driftwood LNG project. Finally, the rising LNG supply in the quarter was slightly offset by a supply outage at Chevron’s Gorgon facility where Train 1 was shut down for maintenance”.
GasLog added that “during the quarter, there were also several announcements for new floating storage and re-gasification units (“FSRUs”). These projects continue the trend of new and existing importing nations selecting FSRUs, which are typically quicker to market and more flexible than land-based terminals. In December, GasLog announced a sales and purchase agreement to acquire a twenty percent shareholding in Gastrade. Gastrade is licensed to develop an independent offshore natural gas system in Northern Greece utilizing an FSRU along with other fixed infrastructure. Global Energy Infrastructure Limited signed a 20-year FSRU charter for its LNG import project in Port Qasim, Pakistan. This will be the third FSRU in Port Qasim, demonstrating the growing demand in the region. The CI-GNL (Ivory Coast LNG) consortium led by Total was awarded the rights to build and operate a 3 mtpa FSRU in the Ivory Coast. The Brazilian gas-to-power Porto de Sergipe Project took final investment decision (“FID”). In connection with the FID, the project’s sponsor entered into a 25-year FSRU charter agreement. Also in the quarter, Turkey chartered its first FSRU, the GDF Suez Neptune, from the French utility company Engie. There were seven new FSRU awards during the year, a significant increase on previous years, demonstrating the growing demand for offshore re-gasification infrastructure. This compares to around 20 existing FSRU projects in operation around the world today”.
According to the shipowner, “in the shorter-term shipping market in the fourth quarter, brokers reported that spot rates in the Atlantic Basin increased to approximately $45,000 per day, with one end of year fixture reported above $50,000. The catalyst was greater ton-mile demand with many cargoes going from the US to Asia through the Panama Canal. Spot charter terms have also improved with round trip economics now seen on some short term voyages. In the Pacific Basin, reported rates were lower at around $38,000 per day than the Atlantic, largely due to the greater availability of vessels during the period”.
Meanwhile, during the quarter, U.S. natural gas prices increased 30% to $4 per million British thermal units (“mmbtu”). However, Northeast Asian LNG prices rose by 60% to approximately $10 per mmbtu due to a cold start to winter in key demand centers such as Japan, China and Korea. Destination flexibility allowed offtakers to send more LNG cargos to Asia which increased ton-mile demand. For 2016 in total, there were approximately 275 short term fixtures, an increase of more than 50% over 2015. Whilst it is too early to predict a sustained recovery, we believe that fundamentals continue to point to a recovery through 2017 and beyond”, GasLog concluded.