Orders for liquefied natural gas (LNG) carriers in South Korea and China dropped significantly in 2023 from the record number of orders logged in the year before.
According to data compiled by LNG Prime from South Korean and Chinese yards and shipbuilding sources, there were at least 68 orders for large LNG carriers in 2023.
This compares to more than 170 orders recorded in 2022. The large number of orders in 2022 resulted in limited availability of slots at Korean and Chinese yards.
Last month, Philippe Berterottière, the chief executive of LNG tank giant GTT said that the firm had won orders for about 65 LNG carriers in 2023.
This means that 2023 orders were in line with 2021.
Berterottière also said that GTT expects a similar number of orders in 2024 and more than 450 orders for large LNG carriers over the next ten years due to a strong LNG demand outlook and more stringent environmental regulations.
17 LNG carrier orders in China
China’s Hudong-Zhonghua and other compatriot yards won a record number of orders for LNG carriers in 2022, boosted by international orders and the giant QatarEnergy shipbuilding program.
China State Shipbuilding Corporation and its units secured 49 orders in 2022. Including other yards, LNG carrier orders in 2022 reached 55 vessels.
LNG Prime estimates that Chinese yards won in total 17 LNG carrier orders in 2023, more than three times less compared to the year before.
CSSC’s Hudong-Zhongua secured only one order in July last year to build two LNG carriers for Cosco Shipping Energy Transportation and PetroChina, while Jiangnan also secured one order in March to build two LNG carriers for Shandong Marine and Taiping & Sinopec Financial Leasing.
Dalian Shipbuilding Industry (DSIC), also part of CSSC, won in total seven LNG carrier orders last year. These include an order for three LNG carriers from Cosco Shipping and Sinopec, an order for two LNG carriers for a joint venture consisting of China Gas, Wah Kwong Maritime Transport, and CSSC Shipping, and an order for two more LNG carriers with China Merchants Energy Shipping (CMES).
Last year, Denmark’s Celsius Tankers, a unit of Celsius Shipping, also ordered in total six 180,000-cbm LNG carriers from China Merchants Heavy Industry in Jiangsu.
Korean orders down to 51 vessels
In South Korea, Hanwha Ocean, previously known as DSME, HD Korea Shipbuilding & Offshore Engineering and its units, and Samsung Heavy won orders for 51 LNG carriers, according to our calculations.
This compares to 119 LNG orders in 2022.
Samsung Heavy received in total seven LNG carrier orders, compared to record 36 LNG carrier orders in 2022.
Last year, Japan’s MOL ordered five LNG carriers at Samsung Heavy and US-based Chevron ordered two vessels.
Hanwha Ocean secured orders for five LNG carriers in 2023, compared to record 38 LNG carriers in 2022.
MOL ordered three LNG carriers at Hanwha Ocean and Greece’s Maran Gas ordered two vessels last year.
KSOE and its units won orders for 39 LNG carriers in 2023. This compares to 45 LNG carrier orders in 2022.
HD Hyundai Heavy secured 30 LNG carrier orders and Hyundai Samho won 9 orders last year.
The orders include 17 carriers as part of the QatarEnergy shipbuilding program, as well as vessels for Greece’s Evalend Shipping, Japan’s NYK, Greece’s Capital Gas, and Greece’s Dynagas.
Besides the deal at Hyundai Heavy, QatarEnergy was expected to award more contracts as part of its shipbuilding program by the end of last year, including for Q-Max type vessels.
However, the talks with other yards took longer than expected and these contracts are expected to be awarded in 2024.
Under the first phase, QatarEnergy contracted 60 LNG carriers at South Korea’s three shipbuilders, and Hudong-Zhonghua.
Including the 17 carriers under the second phase, QatarEnergy and its affiliates awarded contracts for 77 vessels, but the firm needs more than 100 carriers for its giant expansion projects in Ras Laffan and the Golden Pass plant.