The global demand for liquefied natural gas (LNG) has been on the rise in recent years, making the LNG carrier industry more vital than ever.
LNG carriers are responsible for transporting LNG from the production site to the consumption site, and the companies operating these vessels play a crucial role in the industry.
In this article, we will take a closer look at the top 10 LNG carrier operators in the world, based on the latest available statistics and data we collected to analyze the status of the LNG carrier fleet in service and order book.
We have collected data from over 700 LNG carriers and FSRUs, the fleet capacity, their owners, and operators. However it should be considered that not all the data is available in open source, shipowners and operators are continuously changing.
Global LNG Carrier Fleet Overview In 2023
According to data published by Statista at the end of 2021, the global fleet of liquefied natural gas (LNG) tankers consisted of 700 vessels. From 2010 to 2021, the number of tankers in operation steadily increased. With LNG trade volumes reaching 488 billion cubic meters in 2020, a greater number of tankers is needed to meet growing consumer demand.
To have a better overview and accurate data on the LNG tanker fleet, we collected data from 715 LNG tankers and FSRUs. Ship particulars and our questionary consisted of basic details like ship name, IMO number, deadweight, and carrying capacity, as well as current shipowners and company operators.
The latest information in some cases is contradictory or vague, as some ships are owned by several companies or joint ventures. In such cases, it is difficult to determine exactly which company to attribute a particular vessel to.
World LNG carrier fleets come in various sizes, with the largest capable of carrying up to 354,000 cubic meters by Saam FSU and Koryak FSU built by DAEWOO Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co. Ltd.
LNG Carrier Order Book Status in 2023
LNG Carrier Order Book significantly increased reflecting the high demand for liquified natural gas and transportation by sea. The total number of newbuildings ordered and scheduled for delivery in 2023 and later exceeded 288 LNG tankers peaking in 2025 with 101 LNG carriers and 1 FSU.
The total investments in the LNG fleet can be estimated at $72 to $92 billion with the average announced cost of LNG tanker construction ranging between $250 to $320 mln.
Top 10 LNG Carrier Operators
In the dynamic world of LNG shipping the beneficiaries of high freight rates on spot markets are LNG operators holding control over the ship movement, not ship owners or technical managers. Here is our overview and summary of collected data from 700+ LNG carriers.
1. MOL LNG Transport Ltd.
MOL LNG Transport Ltd. is a subsidiary of Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd. (MOL), a leading Japanese transportation company, one of the largest shipping companies in the world operating a huge fleet of bulk carriers, container ships, and oil and gas tankers. The company specializes in the transportation of liquefied natural gas (LNG) using its fleet of LNG carriers.
In January 2023, the company operated a fleet of 51 LNG carriers which brings the company to the top of our list. The largest of which is the MOL FSRU Challenger, with a capacity of 263,000 cubic meters. The vessel is an FSRU (floating storage and regasification unit) which allows the vessel to act as a floating storage and regasification unit, making it capable of providing natural gas to power plants or other industrial users in areas where pipelines or other infrastructure may not be present. The vessel is currently in service and its last known position was in Singapore.
The long list of operated LNGCs included jointly owned ships and long-time charterers with a total fleet capacity of 8,16 mln cbm.
2. NYK LNG Shipmanagement Ltd.
NYK LNG Shipmanagement Ltd. is a subsidiary of Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK), one of the largest shipping companies in the world. The company operates a fleet of LNG carriers, including both newbuildings and secondhand vessels. NYK LNG Shipmanagement is known for its commitment to safety and environmental protection, and it is an active member of several industry organizations.
In January 2023, NYK LNG Shipmanagement Ltd. operates the largest LNG carrier fleet in the world consisting of 47 LNG Tankers and 1 LNG Bunkering vessel. The biggest LNG carrier operated by NYK LNG Shipmanagement is Al Thumama with 211,910 CMB capacity and 104,700.70 MT DWT.
3. Maran Gas Maritime Inc.
Maran Gas Maritime Inc. is a subsidiary of the Angelicoussis Shipping Group, one of the largest independent shipowners in the world. The company operates a fleet of LNG carriers, and it is known for its dedication to safety and environmental protection.
Maran Gas Maritime operates a fleet of 40 LNG carriers with a total capacity of 6,6 mln CBM. The average age of Maran Gas Maritime fleet is 8 years, all sailing under the Greek flag.
In 2022, the company received two newbuildings which are also the biggest ships in the company – John A Angelicoussis and Maran Gas Amorgos. The last one has become the largest LNG vessel in the fleet with a capacity of 176523 CBM.
Maran Gas Maritime also invests heavily in new technologies and innovations to improve the efficiency and sustainability of its operations.
4. Seapeak Maritime (Glasgow) Ltd.
Seapeak Maritime (Glasgow) Ltd. is a leading LNG carrier operator with a fleet of vessels that are primarily chartered to major oil and gas companies. This is a new name on the LNG shipping market on a World scale. Teekay LNG Partners L.P. was acquired by Stonepeak and renamed Teekay LNG Partners to Seapeak LLC.
Seapeak Maritime announced launching a new organizational vision and identity, reflecting intentions to renew and grow its primary business of owning and operating LNG carriers, and to explore potential adjacencies. The fleet of Seapeak Maritime consists of 38 LNG tankers, most of which are renamed with the company name in front in order to improve the brand recognition among the LNG players on the market.
5. MISC Berhad
MISC Berhad is a leading LNG carrier operator and a subsidiary of Petronas, one of the largest oil and gas companies in the world.
MISC Berhad, also known as Malaysia International Shipping Corporation Berhad, is a leading transportation company based in Malaysia. MISC Berhad is a subsidiary of Petronas, the national oil and gas company of Malaysia.
The company specializes in the transportation of liquefied natural gas (LNG) using its fleet of LNG carriers. According to our vessel data, the company operates a fleet of 31 LNG carriers and 1 bunkering LNG tanker. The largest of which is the PFLNG Satu, with a capacity of 174,000 cubic meters.
6. GasLog Ltd
GasLog Ltd is a company that specializes in the ownership, operation, and management of liquefied natural gas (LNG) carriers. The company is based in Monaco and it is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the ticker symbol GLOG.
GasLog Ltd owns and operates a fleet of LNG carriers, that transport LNG to various locations around the world. The company also provides technical and commercial management services for LNG carriers to other ship owners.
GasLog Ltd was founded in 2003 and it has grown to become one of the leading players in the LNG shipping industry. The company has a fleet of 28 LNG carrier vessels, most of their LNG carrier names begins with GasLog and can be easily recognized.
7. BW Fleet Management AS
BW Fleet Management AS is a company that specializes in the management and operation of liquefied natural gas (LNG) carriers and other specialized vessels. The company is based in Norway and it is a subsidiary of BW Group Limited, one of the world’s leading maritime companies.
BW Fleet Management AS provides a range of services to its customers, including technical management, crew management, and commercial management of LNG carriers and other specialized vessels. The company manages a fleet of LNG carriers and other specialized vessels on behalf of its customers, which include ship owners, energy companies, and trading houses.
BW Fleet Management AS manages a diverse fleet of vessels, including FSRUs, LNG vessels, LPG vessels, Dry Bulk Carriers, Product Tankers, Very Large Crude Carriers, Offshore Vessels, and Windfarm Installation Vessels. As of the company webpage, the fleet overview is as follows:
- FSRUs: 5
- LNG Vessels: 29
- LPG Vessels: 161
- Dry Bulk Carriers: 15
- Product Tankers: 225
- Very Large Crude Carriers: 23
- Offshore Vessels: 15
- Windfarm Installation Vessels: 2
This information is current as of the web page’s publication date and may be subject to change in the future. Please visit company webpage for the latest list of BW Fleet Management AS.
The LNG carrier fleet of BW Fleet Management AS, according to our data and world fleet list consists of 27 LNG vessels with a total fleet capacity exceeding 4,3 mln cbm. We recorded and associated two vessels – Pan Africa and Pan Europe with the Seapeak Maritime fleet as the primary operator. However, please note that 4 newbuildings are scheduled for delivery in 2025 with a total tank capacity of 174,000 cbm.
BW Fleet Management AS has a strong reputation for providing safe, reliable, and efficient services to its customers. It is highly experienced in the operation of LNG carriers, and the company’s staff includes experienced marine engineers, navigators, and other professionals with specialized knowledge of LNG operations. The company has a robust safety management system in place to ensure the safe and secure operation of its vessels.
BW Fleet Management AS is a leading LNG carrier operator and a subsidiary of BW Group, one of the largest shipping companies in the world. The company operates a fleet of LNG carriers, and it is known for its commitment to safety and environmental protection. BW Fleet Management also invests heavily in new technologies and innovations to improve the efficiency and sustainability of its operations.
8. Shell International Trading and Shipping Co. Ltd.
Shell International Trading and Shipping Co. Ltd. (Shell Shipping) is a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell plc, a multinational oil and gas company based in the Netherlands. Shell Shipping is responsible for the commercial and technical management of Shell’s fleet of vessels, which includes liquefied natural gas (LNG) carriers.
Shell is one of the world’s largest LNG players. It is involved in the entire LNG value chain, including upstream production, liquefaction, shipping, regasification, and downstream sales. The company has a large fleet of LNG carriers that transport LNG to various locations around the world. Shell Shipping manages the commercial and technical operations of these vessels.
Shell’s large fleet of LNG carriers and its experience in managing these vessels allows the company to provide safe and efficient transportation services to its customers.
Shell International Trading and Shipping Co. Ltd. (Shell Shipping or STATCO) manage a fleet of liquefied natural gas (LNG) carriers on behalf of Royal Dutch Shell plc. The exact size and details of the fleet may change over time, but as of my knowledge cut-off date, Shell operates a fleet of around 30 LNG carriers which are used to transport LNG to various locations around the world.
In January 2023, Shell International Trading and Shipping Co. Ltd. operates the LNG carrier fleet consisting of 25 LNG Tankers including the world’s largest ship FSRU Prelude with a displacement of up to 600,000 mt. The biggest LNG carrier operated by Shell Shipping is Nakilat owned Al Mayeda with 261,988 CMB capacity and 130,157 MT DWT.
The LNG carriers in Shell’s fleet in operation are mostly owned by Qatar Gas Transport Company (QGTC), or ‘Nakilat’. Some of the LNG carriers in Shell’s fleet are fitted with dual-fuel diesel-electric propulsion systems, which allows the vessels to run on both conventional fuel and LNG, thus reducing emissions and increasing efficiency.
Shell is also actively involved in developing new LNG projects and infrastructure, such as floating LNG units and small-scale LNG terminals, to meet the growing demand for LNG as a cleaner-burning fossil fuel. Additionally, Shell’s expertise in the entire LNG value chain and its investments in new LNG projects and infrastructure make it well-positioned to meet the growing demand for LNG in the future.
9. Nakilat Shipping (Qatar) Ltd
Nakilat Shipping (Qatar) Ltd (or Nakilat) is a shipping company based in Qatar that specializes in the transportation of liquefied natural gas (LNG). It is a joint venture between Qatar Gas Transport Company Ltd (Nakilat’s parent company) and various other Qatari and international partners.
The company owns one of the largest fleets of LNG carriers in the world, with over 60 LNG vessels, making it the largest LNG ship owner in the world. The majority of the fleet listed by the company is 100% owned by Nakilat, but some are owned via JV (Joint ventures) with other LNG market players. Nakilat’s fleet is composed of both owned and managed vessels, and it includes traditional LNG carriers, as well as Q-Flex and Q-Max ships, which are the largest LNG carriers in the world.
Our list of world LNG carriers displays that only 19 LNG carriers are operated by Nakilat despite a much longer list of owned ships.
The company’s LNG fleet is used to transport LNG from Qatar to various locations around the world, including Asia, Europe, and the Americas. Nakilat’s fleet is managed by an experienced team of marine professionals, who are responsible for ensuring the safe and efficient operation of the vessels. The company also provides technical and commercial management services to its vessel-owning partners.
In addition to its LNG transportation activities, Nakilat also provides LNG ship management services to other LNG ship owners. The company’s expertise in LNG shipping, combined with its large and modern fleet, allows it to provide safe, reliable, and cost-effective transportation services to its customers.
10. Dynagas Ltd.
Dynagas Ltd is a leading independent owner and operator of LNG carriers, founded in 2005. The company operates a fleet of state-of-the-art LNG carriers and is committed to safety, reliability, and environmental protection. Dynagas is active in the chartering and commercial management of its vessels, and it also invests heavily in new technologies to improve the efficiency and sustainability of its operations.
The fleet of operated ships consists of 18 LNG carriers with a total capacity close to 3 mln cbm. One of the most notable ships is Clean Copano launched in 2022 with a 199,829 cbm capacity.
Notable LNG Carrier Operators
In addition to the above, there are other notable LNG carrier operators like Cool Company Management AS, Knutsen OAS Shipping AS, TMS Cardiff Gas Ltd, and “K” Line.
They are also committed to safety and environmental protection and invest in new technologies to improve the efficiency and sustainability of their operations. It is clear that the LNG carrier industry is constantly evolving, and above top 10 NG carrier operator companies are at the forefront of this change.
However, below is a list of notable companies and their fleet recap that can soon enter the top 10 rankings.
Cool Company Management AS
Cool Company Management AS is a leading LNG carrier operator based in Norway, founded in 2010. The company operates a fleet of 18 LNG carriers including a recently started project in Croatia. CoolCo operates ship LNG Croatia which is owned by LNG Hrvatska d.o.o. and is a part of a regasification terminal in Omišalj on the island of Krk, Croatia.
Knutsen OAS Shipping AS
Knutsen OAS Shipping AS is a leading independent owner and operator of LNG carriers, founded in 1997 with headquarters in Haugesund. The company operates a fleet of 17 LNG carriers which makes a core Knutsen fleet of shuttle tankers, FSOs, LPG carriers, and Product/Chemical tankers.
Among their main customers are Shell, Repsol, Naturgy, PGNiG, Endesa, Edison Equinor, Total, Exxon, ENI, GALP, MAERSK oil & gas, Petrobras/ Transpetro, and Enel. Both, a good relationship with clients and a versatile fleet make the company a notable and flexible player in the market.
TMS Cardiff Gas Ltd
TMS Cardiff Gas Ltd (TMS Cardiff) is a shipping company based in the United Kingdom that specializes in the transportation of liquefied natural gas (LNG). TMS Cardiff Gas Ltd is a private company and in early 2023 the company operates a fleet of 15 LNG tankers all sailing under the Malta flag.
A major part of the fleet was launched in 2020 and 2021. 10 LNG carriers are under 3 years which makes the average age of the company’s fleet just over 5 years old.
“K” Line or Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha, Ltd. is a leading Japanese shipping company founded in 1919 and operates a fleet of 13 LNG carriers and one LNG bunkering tanker. The company is known for its commitment to safety, reliability, and environmental protection, and it is an active member of several industry organizations. “K” Line also invests heavily in new technologies to improve the efficiency and sustainability of its operations.
All these companies are among the key players in the LNG carrier industry, providing safe and reliable transportation of LNG to meet the growing demand. They are constantly innovating to improve the efficiency and sustainability of their operations and play a vital role in the industry.
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