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Europe’s rush to replace Russian gas and an expected years-long bull market for LNG supply and prices have also created a race for LNG carrier orders this year.
With 2022 nearly at its end, the global order book so far this year has numbered 170 LNG carriers, a surge of 95% compared to full-year 2021, per data from Clarksons Research cited by Splash.
This year, new orders for LNG carriers also hit records in terms of prices for the newbuild vessels, according to Clarksons Research.
The market for LNG carrier orders widely outperformed the total ship order market, where 1,306 vessels have been ordered so far in 2022, down from 2,123 ship orders for the full year in 2021.
LNG day rates have surged this year as Europe raced to stock up on cargoes to fill its natural gas storage sites ahead of the winter.
So far this year, American LNG has been crucial in meeting demand in Europe, which has been scrambling for gas supply and willing to pay up for spot deliveries, outbidding most of Asia.
The United States has shipped record volumes of LNG to Europe to help EU allies and around 70% of all American LNG exports have headed to Europe in recent months.
Next year, Europe will need even more LNG supply to offset low (or possibly non-existent) pipeline flows from Russia, analysts and industry players say.
With the plunge in Russian pipeline gas deliveries, Europe will need “huge volumes” of LNG next year, commodity trader Trafigura said earlier this month, adding it expects continued volatility in the natural gas and LNG markets.
“While Europe should avoid a blackout this winter by drawing on inventories and cutting demand, it will need to import huge volumes of LNG in 2023 given the massive reduction in flows from Russia,” Trafigura said in its annual report for the year to September 30.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.