Three years ago, the LNG-shipping industry celebrated its golden jubilee – marking fifty years since Methane Princess unloaded the first commercial LNG cargo at Canvey Island.
It was further back, in 1959, that the Methane Pioneer proved it was safe to ship frozen gas. But when we consider that natural gas was formed 550 million years ago, before dinosaurs roamed the earth, that’s little more than the beat of a butterfly’s wings.
Three years as editor of LNG World Shipping is no time at all. But it’s been an exciting three years, for all that.
We’ve seen countries as diverse as Malta and Jamaica, Pakistan and Poland import their first LNG cargoes. We’ve seen the first LNG exports out of the US Lower 48 States.
This year, the first floating LNG project has started production off Malaysia. And we are days away from Yamal LNG loading its first LNG shipment at the Russian Arctic port of Sabetta.
This year, too, the first purpose-built LNG bunker-supply ships hit the water. Expect more orders next year as Total must charter LNG bunker-supply tonnage twice as big as anything built so far, to fuel nine CMA CGM ultra-large LNG-fuelled container ships.
Those CMA CGM box ships are a game-changer for LNG as marine fuel. For all the talk about decarbonisation of shipping, LNG will become ships’ fuel of choice, at least for now.
Three years have flashed past. I leave you in the capable hands of Mike Corkhill, who will track the latest developments in LNG shipping until a new editor takes the chair.
So it’s goodbye from me. Thank you for reading, for your comments and insight.
Here’s to all good things in 2018.