General – LNG
China is making fast inroads in the market for new build liquefied natural gas (LNG) tankers as local and foreign shipowners turn to its shipbuilders for the speciality vessels because long dominant yards in South Korea are fully booked.
Three Chinese shipyards — only one of them having experience building large LNG tankers — won nearly 30 per cent of this year’s record orders for 163 new gas carriers, claiming ground in a sector where South Korea usually captures most of the business.
LNG tanker order books for Chinese yards tripled as China’s gas traders and fleet operators sought to secure shipping after freight rates soared to records following the upending of global energy supply flows by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
With South Korean shipbuilders swamped by orders to service Qatar’s massive North Field expansion, Chinese yards also attracted more foreign bookings, including first overseas orders for some ship makers only recently certified to build membrane-type LNG carriers.
Chinese shipyards this year won 45 LNG tanker orders worth an estimated US$9.8 billion, about five times their 2021 order values.