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Top 10 LNG Tanker Companies in the World: An Overview

Updated: Dec 22, 2023

LNG Tanker Companies
LNG Tanker Companies

Table of content

  • LNG Market Insight

  • Orderbook

    • Nakilat

    • Mitsui Osk Lines(MOL)

    • NYK

    • Maran Gas

    • Seaspeak

    • MISC Berhad

    • BW Group

    • GasLog

    • Shell

    • Dynagas

Top 10 LNG Tanker Companies in the World - In an era of surging global demand for liquefied natural gas (LNG), the LNG carrier industry finds itself in a pivotal position, facilitating the vital movement of this chilled fuel from production hubs to consumption canters.

The world's reliance on LNG has never been more pronounced, underlining the critical role played by the largest LNG shipping companies in this high-stakes energy trade. Take, for instance, the recent Gas supply crunch in European markets due to the ongoing Russia-Ukraine market, and the heightened importance of LNG shipping to the energy security of Europe currently.

Through meticulous analysis encompassing fleet statistics, order book data, and ongoing operations, we have delved into the intricate landscape of the global LNG carrier industry. Our comprehensive data collection spans over 700 LNG tankers and floating storage regasification units (FSRUs), equipping us to spotlight the top 10 LNG shipping companies. Our investigation sheds light on critical details, from ship capacities to ownership structures and operational footprints.

LNG Market Insight: The global LNG shipping industry is on the cusp of a significant expansion, with analysts forecasting a robust 7.5% growth in the LNG vessel fleet this year. This surge in fleet size is in response to the escalating demand for liquefied natural gas and the continuous expansion of production capacities worldwide.

Currently, the LNG fleet comprises approximately 639 vessels, excluding floating storage regasification units, dedicated storage ships, and bunkering vessels. These vessels collectively offer an impressive 100 million cubic meters of capacity, equivalent to a substantial 54 million deadweight tonnes, according to assessments by Energy Aspects.

Orderbook: The LNG carrier order book has witnessed a substantial surge, mirroring the heightened global demand for liquefied natural gas and its transportation via maritime routes. The combined count of new vessels on order, slated for delivery from 2023 onward, has surged to surpass 288 LNG tankers, reaching its zenith in 2025 when it encompasses 101 LNG carriers alongside 1 FSU.

Estimating the collective investments in the LNG fleet yields figures ranging from $72 billion to $92 billion, taking into account the average reported cost of constructing an LNG tanker, which hovers between $250 million to $320 million per vessel.

Nakilat: Nakilat Shipping (Qatar) Ltd., situated in energy-rich Qatar, has emerged as a formidable force in the global LNG transportation arena. Established as a joint venture between Qatar Gas Transport Company Ltd (Nakilat's parent company) and a consortium of Qatari and international partners, Nakilat boasts an exceptional track record in the specialized realm of liquefied natural gas (LNG) transportation.

Nakilat's prominence in the LNG universe is underscored by its colossal fleet, the largest of its kind worldwide, encompassing a staggering 69 LNG carriers. This formidable armada includes a diverse range of vessels, with 24 conventional carriers, 31 Q-Flex carriers, and 14 Q-Max carriers.

The Q-Max carriers, an engineering marvel with an astounding capacity of 266,000 cubic meters, exemplify Nakilat's commitment to meeting the burgeoning LNG demand, especially in the Middle East.

A cornerstone of Nakilat's success is its enduring partnership with industry giant Shell. This strategic alliance, dating back to 2006, has seen Shell assume the role of shipping and maritime services provider for Nakilat's LNG fleet. The collaboration spans ship management, technical support, and crewing, ensuring the safe and dependable transportation of LNG globally.

Notably, 2020 marked a pivotal milestone in this partnership as Nakilat transitioned seven LNG carriers from Shell's purview to Nakilat's in-house technical and operational management, further solidifying their collaborative strength.

Mitsui Osk Lines(MOL): Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL), a prominent player in the maritime transportation arena, holds a commanding position in the LNG carrier sector, backed by its subsidiary, MOL LNG Transport Ltd. Here's an in-depth look at MOL's LNG fleet as of late 2023:

MOL's LNG carrier fleet comprises 76 vessels, exhibiting a diverse range of propulsion technologies:

XDF (eXpanded Diesel Fuel): MOL operates 6 carriers employing eXpanded Diesel Fuel technology, showcasing the company's commitment to innovation and efficiency.

DFDE (Dual-Fuel Diesel Electric): The fleet includes 7 carriers featuring Dual-Fuel Diesel Electric propulsion systems, capable of running on multiple fuel sources, a noteworthy engineering feat.

Motor-Powered: MOL's arsenal includes 4 LNG carriers propelled by traditional motors, exemplifying the versatility in propulsion choices.

Steam-Driven: A fleet of 10 steam-driven LNG carriers, a testament to MOL's adherence to diverse engineering solutions.

Stage Carriers: MOL operates 2 Stage carriers, demonstrating a commitment to sophisticated engineering solutions.

These LNG carriers span a volumetric range, from 138,000 cubic meters to 227,000 cubic meters, each meticulously engineered to meet specific operational demands.

MOL's global presence ensures these vessels are strategically positioned to transport LNG to power generation facilities, industrial hubs, and LNG terminals worldwide. This engineering achievement plays a pivotal role in ensuring a reliable and consistent supply of LNG, a critical energy source.

In addition to LNG carriers, MOL manages fleets of LPG tankers and car carriers, a testament to their multifaceted engineering expertise. The company has ordered 16 new LNG carriers for delivery between 2023 and 2026.

NYK: NYK LNG Shipmanagement Ltd., a subsidiary of the illustrious Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK), stands as a beacon of excellence in the realm of LNG carrier operations. NYK, counted among the world's largest shipping conglomerates, entrusts its LNG fleet to this subsidiary, epitomizing a commitment to safety and environmental stewardship. NYK's LNG carrier armada comprises a total of 47 LNG tankers and an additional LNG bunkering vessel.

The fleet's diversity is evident in its categorization:

XDF (eXpanded Diesel Fuel): NYK's fleet boasts 20 carriers utilizing eXpanded Diesel Fuel technology, a testament to its embrace of cutting-edge propulsion systems.

DFDE (Dual-Fuel Diesel Electric): The fleet includes 24 carriers equipped with Dual-Fuel Diesel Electric engines, an engineering marvel known for its versatility and eco-friendliness.

Motor-Powered: NYK operates 19 motor-powered LNG carriers, combining traditional engineering with modern operational efficiency.

Steam-Driven: The fleet features 4 steam-driven LNG carriers, a nod to the evolution of LNG propulsion technologies.

NYK's LNG carriers span a volumetric spectrum from 138,000 cubic meters to an impressive 211,910 cubic meters, ensuring a versatile and tailored approach to LNG transportation. These vessels crisscross the globe, diligently transporting LNG to power generation facilities, industrial hubs, and LNG terminals worldwide. {Top 10 LNG Tanker Companies in the World}

Maran Gas: Maran Gas Maritime Inc., a subsidiary of the Angelicoussis Shipping Group, is a leading player in the LNG carrier industry. With a fleet of 48 LNG carriers boasting a combined capacity of 6.6 million cubic meters, Maran Gas Maritime ranks among the industry's stalwarts. Their commitment to safety and environmental protection is unwavering, with an average fleet age of just 8 years.

In 2022, Maran Gas Maritime welcomed two groundbreaking additions to their fleet – the John A Angelicoussis and Maran Gas Amorgos, the latter becoming the largest LNG vessel in the fleet with a capacity of 176,523 cubic meters. The company consistently invests in innovative technologies to enhance operational efficiency and sustainability, ensuring its continued prominence in the LNG shipping sector.

Maran Gas Maritime's fleet includes a variety of vessels, including the world's largest LNG carriers – the Q-Max carriers with a capacity of 266,000 cubic meters. Notable vessels like the Maran Gas Asclepius, Maran Gas Marseille, Umm Bab, Simaisma, and Al Jassassiya showcase their commitment to pioneering advancements in LNG transportation.

Seaspeak: Seapeak Maritime (Glasgow) Ltd. has emerged as a formidable presence in the LNG carrier industry, operating a substantial fleet primarily chartered to major oil and gas corporations. While relatively new to the global LNG shipping market, its strategic acquisition of Teekay LNG Partners L.P., subsequently renamed Teekay LNG Partners to Seapeak LLC, marked a significant milestone in its journey. {Top 10 LNG Tanker Companies in the World}

Currently, Seapeak Maritime commands a diverse fleet comprising 50 LNG tankers, a majority of which have been rebranded with the company's name upfront, enhancing its recognition among key players in the LNG sector.

However, the scope of Seapeak's maritime influence extends beyond LNG carriers, encompassing a vast fleet of 92 vessels. This impressive portfolio includes 50 LNG carriers, including five newbuilds, and 42 vessels dedicated to LPG, Ethane, and Multigas transport, featuring four newbuilds.

One distinctive aspect of Seapeak's journey is its commitment to self-reliance in LNG shipbuilding since 2002, managing a total of 36 new builds entirely in-house. This inclusive approach has borne fruit, with notable successes like the 6 ARC 7 LNG carriers ordered in 2014, delivered on budget and ahead of schedule in 2018 and 2019. Seapeak prides itself on close collaboration with shipbuilders to pioneer world-leading designs, including MEGI and ARC 7 technologies, showcasing its prowess in the intricate realm of LNG propulsion.

MISC Berhad: A subsidiary of Petronas and a prominent Malaysian shipping corporation,it has carved a formidable niche in the global LNG carrier industry. With a distinguished history and powerful backing from Petronas, one of the world's largest oil and gas companies, MISC Berhad commands a fleet of 29 LNG carriers, aggregating an impressive 2.7 million cubic meters in capacity. These carriers, classified into various classes including the cutting-edge Seri C, Seri B, Seri A, Puteri Satu, Puteri, Tenaga, and Aman categories, exemplify MISC Berhad's commitment to innovation and efficiency.

Amongst these, the Seri C Class vessels represent the epitome of LNG carrier technology, showcasing the company's relentless pursuit of excellence. Several remarkable vessels within the MISC Berhad fleet deserve special recognition. The Seri Cenderawasih, delivered in 2023 with a capacity of 150,200 cubic meters, embodies the company's dedication to modernization. The Seri Camellia, propelled by a dual-fuel engine capable of operating on both LNG and diesel fuel, represents pioneering technology.

MISC Berhad's largest LNG carrier, the Seri Bakti, with its staggering 452,319 cubic meters capacity, underscores the company's preeminence in the LNG sector. MISC Berhad's commitment to safe, reliable, and innovative LNG transportation positions it as a stalwart in the global energy landscape, equipped to meet the burgeoning demand for clean and efficient energy sources.

BW Group: BW Group, founded by Sir Yue-Kong Pao in 1955, has established itself as a global leader in maritime energy transportation and infrastructure. The company has evolved over the decades, expanding its reach into various segments of the shipping industry, including LNG transportation. {Top 10 LNG Tanker Companies in the World}

BW LNG, a subsidiary of BW Group, has steadily built a robust LNG fleet to meet the growing demand for clean energy. Their LNG carriers are designed to transport liquefied natural gas safely and efficiently across the globe.

BW LNG owns and operates a fleet of over 32 LNG carriers and Floating Storage and Regasification Units (FSRUs).

The BW LNG fleet consists of a variety of vessels, including Q-Flex, Q-Max, and Arc7 carriers. The Q-Max carriers are the largest LNG carriers in the world, with a capacity of 266,000 cubic meters. The Arc7 carriers are the most advanced LNG carriers in the world, and they are designed to operate in Arctic waters.

The BW LNG fleet is deployed all over the world, transporting LNG to power plants, industrial facilities, and LNG terminals. The company is committed to providing safe and reliable transportation of LNG to meet the growing demand for this clean and efficient energy source.

GasLog: GasLog Ltd, a Monaco-based company publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the symbol GLOG, has become a formidable force in the LNG shipping sector since its inception in 2003. With a fleet of 34 LNG carriers, boasting a total capacity of 19.5 million cubic meters, GasLog plays a pivotal role in the global transportation of liquefied natural gas (LNG).

The fleet encompasses a diverse range of vessels, including the world's largest LNG carriers, the Q-Max vessels, with a remarkable capacity of 266,000 cubic meters. Notably, GasLog's Arc7 carriers are engineered for operations in Arctic waters, reflecting the company's commitment to cutting-edge technology.

Among GasLog's standout vessels are the GasLog London, the largest LNG carrier in the fleet, the pioneering dual-fuel engine-powered GasLog Savannah, and the recently delivered GasLog Sydney.

With a well-maintained, modern fleet, GasLog is ideally positioned to meet the burgeoning demand for LNG transportation. In addition to their LNG operations, GasLog also manages a fleet of LPG carriers, cementing their status as a dominant global player in the liquefied gas transportation sector.

Shell: Shell International Trading and Shipping Co. Ltd. (Shell Shipping), a subsidiary of the Netherlands-based Royal Dutch Shell plc, is a pivotal player in the LNG transportation sector. As a subsidiary of one of the world's largest oil and gas companies, Shell Shipping holds responsibility for the comprehensive management of Shell's fleet, including a significant number of liquefied natural gas (LNG) carriers.

Shell is a prominent player across the entire LNG value chain, encompassing upstream production, liquefaction, shipping, regasification, and downstream sales. Their extensive fleet of LNG carriers operates globally, facilitating the transportation of LNG to diverse destinations worldwide. Shell Shipping excels in overseeing the commercial and technical aspects of these vessels, ensuring the highest standards of safety and efficiency.

Shell Shipping manages a fleet of approximately 30 LNG carriers. Notably, they operate the world's largest LNG carrier, FSRU Prelude, with a remarkable displacement of up to 600,000 metric tons. Among their notable vessels is the Nakilat-owned Al Mayeda, boasting a capacity of 261,988 cubic meters and 130,157 metric tons of deadweight.

Shell's commitment extends to environmental responsibility, with some of their LNG carriers featuring dual-fuel diesel-electric propulsion systems. These systems enable vessels to utilize both conventional fuel and LNG, reducing emissions and enhancing overall efficiency.

Furthermore, Shell actively engages in the development of new LNG projects and infrastructure, including floating LNG units and small-scale LNG terminals, aligning with the growing global demand for LNG as a cleaner energy source. Their profound expertise across the LNG value chain and strategic investments position Shell Shipping to meet the increasing demand for LNG in the future. {Top 10 LNG Tanker Companies in the World}

Dynagas: Dynagas Ltd, established in 2005, is a prominent independent LNG carrier operator known for its commitment to safety, reliability, and environmental responsibility. With a fleet of 18 state-of-the-art LNG carriers boasting a combined capacity of nearly 3 million cubic meters, Dynagas is a significant player in the industry.

Notably, their vessel Clean Copano, launched in 2022, has a capacity of 199,829 cubic meters. The company excels in chartering, commercial management, and investments in advanced technologies to enhance operational efficiency and sustainability. Dynagas's presence in the LNG maritime transportation sector underscores its dedication to meeting the rising global demand for clean energy transport.

Leo Kabouche, an LNG analyst at Energy Aspects, forecasts the addition of 48 LNG carriers in the current year, with a striking 71 more to follow in 2024. Qatar takes center stage as a formidable force in this expansion, with Mr. Kabouche noting its prominent role in the orders front. Qatar's imperative need for additional carriers arises from the imminent transportation demands linked to the planned Golden Pass LNG facility in the United States and the expansions in the North Field East and North Field South.

Notably, the Golden Pass LNG facility in Sabine Pass, Texas, is scheduled to commence production next year. Concurrently, Qatar's own LNG production is anticipated to surge from 105 billion cubic meters to an impressive 171 billion cubic meters annually by 2027.

Intriguingly, Qatar Energy, the state-owned oil and gas conglomerate, is already reported to have placed orders for at least 18 carriers, expected for delivery between 2024 and 2026, further cementing its influential role in the industry.

Written by Ankur Kundu

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