Kanfer Shipping CEO Stig Hagen says the charterers of its 6,000 cbm-capacity LNG bunker vessels will have a ‘competitive edge’ in the burgeoning LNG market when agreements are finalised later this year.
As previously reported, Kanfer Shipping recently announced it had signed a letter of intent (LOI) with China-based Taizhou Wuzhou Shipbuilding Industry Co. Ltd for the construction of its first two small-scale LNG bunker and distribution ships.
Scheduled for delivery during H1 2023, the LOI also comes with the option to build additional vessels.
Speaking to ship.energy, Hagen confirmed that Kanfer was currently in discussions with up to eight ‘solid’ counterparties over the long-term charter – in the region of 7-12 years – of the vessels. The company has already started discussing memoranda of understanding with charterers, and a final decision is expected to be announced by the summer.
‘We have been talking to a lot of potential charterers of these ships, and that goes for everything from the [oil] majors, to national oil companies, to global bunker traders as well as port operators,’ said Hagen.
‘In order for the small-scale LNG bunkering market to grow and become a global phenomenon, you need to reduce the cost so that smaller players can participate in the LNG bunkering market with such kind of tool,’ said Hagen. ‘The shipowners prefer competition, and we believe that our tool is a giant leap in this direction. On top of that, of course, there are a limited number of small-scale LNG ships in the market as we speak.’
Hagen said discussions with wide-ranging counterparties have highlighted a common need for LNG bunker vessel tonnage by early 2023, in line with increasing demand for marine LNG.
‘What we see is that there will be a lot of LNG in the market which means the supply is there, but the demand is not as large as the supply, and the prices of LNG will stay competitive in the long-term,’ said Hagen.
This commercial landscape, said Hagen, could pave the way for more small- to medium-sized companies to follow Kanfer Shipping’s path of developing small-scale LNG bunker and distribution ships to help meet demand – but this is likely to hinge on a reduction in CAPEX associated with building the vessels.
‘I think it’s all heading to have more cost-competitive infrastructure. I believe we are moving from a shrunk version of the large-scale LNG carriers, to more tailormade technology for small scale LNG ships. Companies like Kanfer, the vendors and the yards need to think outside the box in order to make this attractive to the market and our environment.’
Hagen added: ‘We have a clear ambition in this respect, and we prefer working with companies that can add value and where we can create a win-win. I think that’s essential.’