A joint venture between Chinese state-controlled shipowner Cosco Shipping Energy Transportation and state-owned energy firm CNPC has ordered another three LNG carriers from the country's Hudong-Zhonghua shipyard. [Published date: 21 June 2021]
Hudong-Zhonghua's new orders buoy the shipbuilder's orderbook to at least ten 174,000m³ LNG carriers, as well as three smaller 79,900m³ carriers ordered by Japan's K Line and domestic firm Shenzhen Gas. The shipyard is expected to deliver one of these larger carriers, the Mu Lan, this month, which would be the first such delivery since the same-sized LNG Megrez left the yard in October.
South Korean shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries also received an order for a pair of LNG carriers on 18 June from an unnamed Oceania-based owner, valued at around 438bn won in total, or $193mn per vessel. New orders at South Korean yards have held much quicker so far this year than in the first half of 2020, when no orders were placed until July as the outbreak of Covid-19 led to a number of owners stepping back from the newbuild market.
Orders are widely expected to remain quick for the rest of this year as the wider LNG freight market awaits the finalisation of newbuild orders
for Qatar's North Field expansion project. Qatari state-owned QP reserved significant swathes of yard capacity at three of South Korea's largest shipyards last year, as well as at Hudong-Zhonghua. The firm is negotiating with LNG shipowners for charters on newbuild carriers that will be built using this reserved capacity.