At a time when energy security is becoming of paramount significance, Greek-owned shipping is playing a strategic role in international maritime transport of liquefied natural gas loads. As the disengagement of Europe – and other countries – from Russian natural gas is accelerating and the US is emerging as the top LNG exporter on the planet, the global fleet of LNG carriers is becoming clearly instrumental.
Having invested tens of billions of dollars at a rate that has increased in the last decade, a small number of Greek shippers now have 22.35% of the global LNG carrier fleet under their control in deadweight tonnage terms. This concerns a fleet of 135 such tankers, out of a total of some 640 in the water today.
These are vessels that incorporate particularly demanding technologies and their construction costs range around $200 million apiece. The expansion of that fleet to cover the growing global demand is an effort that takes many years.
There are currently international orders in place for another 137 LNG carriers in the world’s shipyards, but they will require another two to three years to get delivered.
According to VesselsValue, a specialized company in shipping monitoring, in November 2021, the Greek-owned LNG carrier fleet was assessed to be the most expensive in the world, valued at $19.118 billion, followed by Japan’s ($18.1 billion), China’s ($10.4 billion) and South Korea’s ($9 billion).
In this domain of global shipping there have been major investments for over a decade by such Greek shipping groups as Angelicoussis, Procopiou and Livanos, followed more recently by shipowners such as Evangelos Marinakis, Michalis Chandris, Panagiotis Tsakos, George Economou, Anna Angelicoussi, Dinos Martinos, Andreas Martinos and the Latsis family.
Some of the above, such as the Angelicoussis and Procopiou groups, have gone on to enter the floating storage regasification unit (FSRU) market, concerning a necessary means for the fuel to be passed on to the final consumer.