LNG Tanker Rates Fall 17% on Increase in Vessels

Charter rates for liquefied natural gas tankers on short-term hauls declined 17 percent last year because of an increase in new vessels, Poten & Partners said. Rates to rent LNG tankers fell to about $46,600 a day for steam turbine vessels of 138,000 to 150,000 cubic meters in capacity, Poten, a U.S. energy consultant, said in a report e mailed today.

“With a record number of new builds entering the fleet, market needs were easily accommodated and except for a few instances, prompt ships were always available,” according to the report. “Despite a robust cargo market with record numbers of spot shipments being diverted from the Atlantic Basin to destinations east of Suez, chartering activity remained muted through July.” The number of LNG ships worldwide will increase by more than 50 percent in 2010 after shipyards delivered a record 58 vessels last year, David Fuller, the London-based head of LNG for RWE AG, said at the Gas Asia conference in Kuala Lumpur yesterday. Daily charter rates in 2008 were in a range of $40,000 to $50,000 about 60 percent of the time, according to Poten. Charter rates for ships transporting spot cargoes have declined to about $35,000 to $40,000 a day currently, Gunaseharan Ganapathy, vice president of LNG at MISC Bhd., said yesterday. Charterers may have paid as much as $75,000 a day during winter 2007, according to Drewry Maritime Services Ltd.

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