LNG Ship Rates Seen Unprofitable on Shorter Voyages, New Vessels

Spot rates to ship liquefied natural gas will be unprofitable in the next two years as shorter voyages curb demand and new vessels join the fleet, according to RS Platou Economic Research.

Average rates for modern steam vessels will fall to $108,000 a day this year, $92,000 in 2014 and $69,000 in 2015, the Oslo-based shipbroker and investment bank said in an e-mailed report today. The estimates are slightly less than what the vessels need to break even, partner Jorn Bakkelund said in the report.

The fleet will expand 6 percent in the next two years as few old vessels are removed, compared with 3 percent demand growth, Bakkelund said in the report. Transportation distances will decline 1 to 2 percent in the next three years as restarts of nuclear power plants lead Japanese demand to level off and an increasing share of Middle East cargoes goes to Asia, according to the report.

“Utilization is thus expected to decline from the present high level,” Bakkelund said in the report. “Spot rates should linger just below the break-even level.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Isaac Arnsdorf in London at iarnsdorf@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Alaric Nightingale at anightingal1@bloomberg.net

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