As we enter the end of our winter season in the Northeast, the mild winter combined with global oversupply fears has caused liquefied natural gas (LNG) prices to plummet and the worst may not be over.
January 1, 2020, marked a big change for marine vessels. The IMO (International Maritime Organization) has implemented a significant reduction in the sulfur content for the shipping industry in 2020. The reduction brings the previous 3.5% sulfur content (bunker fuel), plummeting down to the new 0.5% sulfur requirement. Goldman Sachs estimates the monetary impact could be as much as $240 billion during the 2020 calendar year.
Royal Dutch Shell has pushed the U.S. Lake Charles LNG Export Project in Louisiana back five years to 2025. According to Reuters, “the project, a 50-50 venture with U.S. midstream company Energy Transfer, envisaged converting an existing import and regasification facility in Lake Charles into a multi-train, 16.45 million tonnes per year facility. The delay takes a major U.S. export project out of the race to achieve a final investment decision in time to start operations during an anticipated supply downturn in 2023-2024.”
With an attempt to boost the shipbuilding industry in the U.S., the Energizing American Shipbuilding Act has been reintroduced with bipartisan support. It is being supported by Senator John Wicker (R-Mississippi) and Congressman John Garimendi (D-California). This act would require 15 percent of liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports be moved by U.S. crewed and built tankers by the year 2041. It also applies to 10 percent of seaborne crude exports by the year 2033. During this same time, the act would also require an additional 50 U.S. ships be built during the same time-frame. Wicker and Garimendi are supporters of the Jones Act – where cargo ships transporting goods between U.S. ports must be built, owned and operated by U.S citizens.