Hyundai Mipo Dockyard has entered the small and medium-sized LNG carrier market by winning an order to build a small LNG carrier from a Norwegian client.
The company announced on Dec. 7 that it signed a contract with Knutsen OAS Shipping of Norway to build a 30,000 cubic meter LNG carrier worth US$77 million (about 86 billion won). Hyundai Mipo Dockyard is the first Korean shipbuilder to build a small LNG carrier.
As the contract includes one option for the same vessel, an additional order is expected. The vessel, which is 180 meters long, 28.4 meters wide, and 19.4 meters high, will be delivered in the first quarter of 2021.
The LNG carrier market has thus far been formed around large vessels of more than 160,000 cubic meters. But recently, interest in small and medium-sized LNG carriers has been growing due to increased demand for LNG, an eco-friendly fuel, and expansion of LNG bunkering infrastructure.
According to Clarkson, a British research company specializing in shipbuilding and shipping industries, annual orders for small and medium-sized LNG carriers have remained at five vessels on average for the past five years, but the figure is expected to increase to 15 vessels annually over the next 10 years.
In particular, the demand for LNG in Southeast Asian countries, which have not been able to accommodate large LNG vessels due to their very shallow water depth of around 10 meters, is expected to increase greatly. Some analysts say that small-sized LNG carriers could become the new flagship vessel of Hyundai Mipo Dockyard.
"Our LNG vessel technology is highly appreciated in global markets as shown by the positive reviews from ship owners on the LNG bunkering vessel that we have recently constructed,” said an official of Hyundai Mipo Dockyard. “We are planning to secure a firm position in the segment for small and medium-sized LNG carriers, including LNG bunkering vessels.