South Korea’s three major shipbuilders are poised to come out of a protracted slump as it is sweeping up global orders for liquefied natural gas (LNG) vessels amid growing demand for environmentally-friendly vessels.
Samsung Heavy Industries Co. said on Monday that it won a $1.5 billion deal from a Eurasian ship owner to build LNG carriers. The company did not disclose contract details such as the name of the client and the number of vessels, but it is expected to build seven to eight vessels considering that the average price of an LNG carrier is $186 million, according to data from UK-based marine industry tracker Clarkson Research Services.
The latest deal accounts for 33.9 percent of the company’s total sales of last year that reached 5.3 trillion won. Samsung Heavy Industries will start deliver the ships starting September 2022.
With the latest deal, Samsung Heavy Industries has received a total $4 billion worth of LNG carrier orders so far this year, already surpassing last year’s total of $3.3 billion for 18 vessels. When including all vessel types, the shipbuilder has won $6.9 billion worth orders so far this year, exceeding last year’s total of $6.3 billion and reaching 88 percent of this year’s target of $7.8 billion.
Last month, Samsung Heavy Industries bagged an order from Malaysia International Shipping Corporation (MISC) to build two LNG carriers with 174,000 cubic meter capacity, each.
Two other big Korean shipbuilders Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. and Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co. (DSME) have also been winning a string of LNG vessel orders since last year.
According to foreign media sources, Hyundai Heavy Industries has joined a race to win a contract to build LNG vessels from Europe’s biggest oil company Royal Dutch Shell plc. The Korean company is reportedly considered a strong candidate for the 1.7 trillion won worth of order to build up to eight vessels, according to sources.
DSME also received two LNG carrier orders last month from ship owners in the American continent.
So far this year, Hyundai Heavy Industries have won $2.09 billion worth of orders for 11 vessels and DSME $1.7 billion for nine vessels. Korea’s top three shipbuilders have won a combined $7.79 billion worth of orders – which is 68.6 percent of last year’s total of $11.35 billion.
Industry insiders noted that given the fact that overall global vessel demand has remained weak throughout this year, the Korean trio’s order score in the LNG market this year is a big win for them.
They are also expected to win additional orders in the last month of this year considering that the quality of their LNG ships has already proved the world`s best. Unlike Korean shipbuilders, their major rivals Chinese shipyards have been grappling with quality issues with their LNG vessels.
In terms of overall ship order volume, Korean shipbuilders also beat their Chinese peers.
According to Clarkson Research Services, Korean shipbuilders bagged combined contracts of 1.29 million compensated gross tonnage in October – a lion share of total 1.5 million CGT global orders. The amount of orders jumped 324 percent from the same month last year, and it is the first time this year for their monthly total order volume to exceed 1 million CGT. The combined order value jumped 287 percent from last year to $2.6 billion in October this year, data showed. Korean shipyards also beat Chinese rivals in terms of total amount of orders during the January-October period – 6.95 million CGT versus 6.11 CGT.
However, some market analysts warn of potential order fallouts in the drill ship sector as a risk to Korean shipbuilders.
Korean shipyards are to deliver 10 drill ships – five each by DSME and Samsung Heavy Industries – but six of the contracts have been already canceled due to negative outlook on international oil prices. Samsung Heavy Industries also said last month that Switzerland-headquartered Transocean dropped its order for two drill ships. DSME was also informed of cancelation of a single drill ship order last month from Norway-based offshore drilling contractor Northern Drilling.