Is LNG transportation the next major maritime growth area?

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Even if you aren’t interested in the global maritime or shipping sector you can’t have helped hearing about the massive growth in the production of shale gas and the proposed plans for further exploration and production. 

This is an area that's having a significant knock-on effect into the marine and shipping sector - in particular LNG transportation and the construction of LNG vessels and terminals.

Firstly some figures

Asia, which is currently the destination for 70% of all LNG shipped worldwide, will continue to drive market demand in the years ahead [1]. This will be fuelled by significant projected growth for the US and Australian markets, where LNG production plants are scheduled to come online in 2015 and onwards. 

China, whose heavy dependence on fossil fuels has been showing significant increases, is under growing international pressure to change to a new cleaner fuel for their massive industrial nation as well as consumer market. This has led to an increase in orders for new builds, not just from China (approximately 57 LNG carriers in 2013) to meet this projected demand. 

Global growth

The shipping market has had a fair few years of stagnant growth and negative publicity. However, the new increased productivity of this market, the construction of cleaner vessels (using low speed gas injection engines) with larger capacities, plus an excellent safety record, can only lead to the massive growth in the LNG marine and shipping sector - and with it the offshoots related to this massive global industry. 

However this all depends on three areas of growth:

  • Primarily the shale gas boom.

  • The change from coal to gas in China.

  • The continued use of LNG in Japan once their nuclear stations come back on line. 

In my view, hold on for a massive boom in the years to come. 

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