LNG Changes In The Context Of The Expanding Market Of Natural Gas.
In the context of the continually expanding demand of natural gas worldwide, the LNG industry is undergoing significant changes in its trade structure and shipping characteristics. The growth in LNG trade will continue and with it the growth of the LNG shipping industry. Departing from the rigid structure of the traditional LNG trade, the introduction of trade flexibility through development of short-term contracts and spot trading is altering the picture in LNG shipping. In the current work, the evolution and future of LNG trade as a share of the natural gas trade is presented and analysed, with respect to worldwide and regional (mainly European) supply and demand and its competition with other current (pipeline) and emerging natural gas transportation alternatives. Changes in the structure of the LNG trade, in LNG chain economics and LNG fleet characteristics are detected, correlated and assessed. All efforts towards improving the competitiveness of the LNG industry must take into account the above-mentioned changes and, to this extent, it is revealed that the shipping link of the LNG chain presents adequate margins for technological advances. In this respect, areas of priority and measures for promoting the economics, reliability and safety of the LNG tankers are proposed.