Lack of infrastructure to hamper VLAC development

  • Market: Fertilizers, Freight
  • 10/05/24

Development of a very large ammonia carrier (VLAC) market could be delayed by a lack of terminal infrastructure to allow discharge of 40,000-60,000t cargoes, said Steem1960 ammonia shipbroker Lisa Maria Assmann at the Argus Clean Ammonia conference in Tokyo.

Around 40 VLACs are scheduled to hit the water between 2026 and 2028, when an uptake in clean ammonia trade is likely to be pushed by public tenders from South Korea and Japan.

"VLACs cannot discharge these large volumes using the existing infrastructure," Assmann said. "We have storages that are much smaller than that, terminals with draft issues, LOA (length overall) issues. With all these problems, I do not see these large volumes being discharged in a speedy manner in the short-term, not before 2035-40 at least."

In the larger segment of gas carriers, the very large gas carriers (VLGCs) built between 2009 and 2022 cannot carry ammonia cargoes, according to the shipbroker. These vessels were built when there were no expectations of carrying ammonia at such volumes, and the capability was not included to save costs at that time.

"By 2030 we may have about 150 VLGCs available to carry ammonia, either at 86pc or 95pc capacity, but that is still a discussion for the future because we still do not have the infrastructure in place for the discharge," Asmann said.

Ship-to-ship transfers from larger to smaller vessels could be a solution in the medium term, Assmann said, but she pondered that even then there are regulation issues that would hamper its widespread use.


Sharelinkedin-sharetwitter-sharefacebook-shareemail-share

Related news posts

Argus illuminates the markets by putting a lens on the areas that matter most to you. The market news and commentary we publish reveals vital insights that enable you to make stronger, well-informed decisions. Explore a selection of news stories related to this one.

News

Japanese bank Mizuho boosts support for H2, ammonia


17/05/24
News
17/05/24

Japanese bank Mizuho boosts support for H2, ammonia

Tokyo, 17 May (Argus) — Japanese bank Mizuho Financial aims to provide ¥2 trillion ($12.8bn) in financial support for domestic and overseas cleaner fuel projects by 2030 to support Japan's plan to build a hydrogen supply chain. Private-sector Mizuho is offering financing to low-carbon hydrogen, ammonia and e-methane projects related to production, import, distribution and development of hydrogen carriers. Mizuho said it has in the past offered project financing for large-scale overseas low-carbon hydrogen and ammonia manufacturing projects, as well as transition loans. Japan is focusing on cleaner fuel use in the power sector and hard-to-abate industries, as part of its drive to reach net zero CO2 emissions by 2050. Japanese firms are getting involved in overseas hydrogen projects because domestic production is bound to be comparatively small and costly. They are looking to co-fire ammonia at coal-fired power generation plants to cut CO2 emissions and examining use of the fuel as a hydrogen carrier . Japanese companies have also partnered with several overseas firms on e-methane. Mizuho has to date offered $1bn for cleaner fuel projects. The bank has set a goal to accelerate the setting up of a clean fuel supply chain by addressing the financial challenge faced by projects requiring large investments. Mizuho has attempted to help Japan's decarbonisation push by tightening biomass and coal financing policies. Mizuho has also stopped investing in new coal-fired power projects, including existing plant expansions. The bank has a plan to reduce the ¥300bn credit available for coal-fired power development projects by half by the April 2030-March 2031 fiscal year and to zero by 2040-41. By Nanami Oki Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

News

India’s Gail signs 14-year time charter for LNG carrier


17/05/24
News
17/05/24

India’s Gail signs 14-year time charter for LNG carrier

Mumbai, 17 May (Argus) — India's state-controlled gas distributor Gail has signed a 14-year time charter agreement with US-based LNG shipping firm CoolCo for an LNG carrier, the former said on 16 May. The time charter for the LNG carrier will start operating from early 2025 as it is currently under construction. Gail is likely to receive the carrier during October-December in the Gulf of Mexico, CoolCo said. The charter will be the fifth LNG carrier in Gail's vessels that are intended to secure long-term supply of LNG in India. Gail will have an option to extend the charter by two additional years beyond its contracted 14-year period. The LNG carrier will likely be used to ship LNG volumes from the US, Russia, and from its recent contracts with Abu Dhabi's state-owned Adnoc and trading firm Vitol , a company official told Argus . (See table) "Long-term cargoes are there and there are a few lifts from the spot markets as well," the source added. "It is how the consumption pattern of the country is now shaping more towards LNG since domestic volumes are constrained." The firm also planned to add an LNG tanker to ship cargoes from the US, Argus exclusively reported in February. Gail expects India's gas demand to rise and has been looking to secure more term deals . Gail is seeking an additional 7mn-8mn t/yr of LNG for its portfolio with a further 1mn-2mn t/yr, the firm said in January. This reiterates targets set in August last year . Gail's portfolio growth aligns with the government's plan to increase the share of gas in its primary energy mix to 15pc by 2030 from around 6pc in 2022. By Rituparna Ghosh Gail contracts mn t/yr Supplier/terminal Volume Fob/des Dates Sabine Pass 3.5 fob 2018-38 Cove Point 2.3 fob 2018-38 SEFE 2.5 des 2018-41 Vitol 1.0 des 2026-36 Adnoc 0.5 des 2026-36 Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

News

Texas barge collision shuts GIWW section: Correction


16/05/24
News
16/05/24

Texas barge collision shuts GIWW section: Correction

Corrects volume of oil carried by barge in fourth paragraph. Houston, 16 May (Argus) — Authorities closed a six-mile section of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway (GIWW) near Galveston, Texas, because of an oil spill caused by a barge collision with the Pelican Island causeway bridge. The section between mile markers 351.5 and 357.5 along the waterway closed, according to the US Coast Guard. A barge broke away from the Philip George tugboat and hit the bridge between Pelican Island and Galveston around 11am ET today. Concrete from the bridge fell onto the barge and triggered an oil leak. The barge can hold up to 30,000 bl oil, but it was unknown how full the barge was before the crash, Galveston County county judge Mark Henry said. It was unclear when the waterway would reopen. An environmental cleanup crew was on the scene along with the US Coast Guard and Texas Department of Transportation to assess the damage. Multiple state agencies have debated the replacement of the 64-year-old bridge for several years, Henry said. The rail line alongside the bridge collapsed. Marine traffic does not pass under the bridge. By Meghan Yoyotte Intracoastal Waterway at Galveston Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

News

Sinking crop values weigh on US farmer profits in 2024


16/05/24
News
16/05/24

Sinking crop values weigh on US farmer profits in 2024

Houston, 16 May (Argus) — The cycle of above-average profits that has defined the US agricultural economy in recent seasons is fraying this year as crop prices slacken against elevated expenses. The domestic agricultural sector is forecast to endure a 24pc drop in net cash income this season — the sharpest year-over-year decline in the last decade — underpinned by a 6pc slump in crop sales revenue and modest growth in projected expenses, according to the US Department of Agriculture's (USDA) latest industry income statement. This retraction, which kicked off in 2023, forced many growers in key agricultural districts this season to augment non-real estate loans, slow debt repayment and restructure existing loans to meet liquidity requirements thanks in part to sliding global grain and oilseed prices. Lenders within the seventh and 10th Federal Reserve districts, which represent farmers across major growing regions, reported stronger loan demand and tightened working capital during the first quarter — signaling deteriorating farm finances. Working capital is measured as the difference between the value of assets that can be easily converted to cash and debt due within the next 12 months. Lower working capital valuation signals the ability to pay down debt could be challenged. Domestic agricultural working capital this year is estimated 17pc lower from 2023 and 6pc lower than the five-year average, according to USDA data. "Conditions in the US farm economy have tightened alongside lower prices for many key products and higher financing costs," the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City reported in its quarterly Ag Credit Survey . "Many lenders highlighted growing concerns about deterioration in working capital as a result of low prices, particularly for crop producers." US row-crop growers are expected to endure another season of price deterioration as global markets adjust to supply shocks stemming from the ongoing war in Ukraine that rattled wheat values and key input prices for corn and soybeans. Domestic corn, soybean and wheat farm cash prices are projected to slump for a second consecutive season by 5pc, 11pc and 15pc, respectively, according to the latest projections from the USDA's World Agricultural Supply and Demand (WASDE) report. Corn growers, specifically, face losses this season amid a 4.6mn-acre cut in planted area from last season in tandem with sinking crop values. Margins are estimated -$65.75/acre, based on the latest new-crop contract close and early-season production volume estimates, after benefiting from peak earnings at $242.33/acre in 2022. Corn is a fertilizer-intensive crop, and changes in farmer profitability can erode input prices. Urea, the most widely traded fertilizer globally, is strongly tied to front-month corn futures and domestic barge prices have sunk to levels last seen in January 2021, tracking lower front-month corn futures since the start of the 2023-24 fertilizer season. Fertilizer expenses account for nearly 40pc of annual operating costs for domestic corn growers on a per-acre basis, with seed costs comprising an average 25pc, according to Argus analysis of USDA data. Plant nutrition expenses, though, surged in 2022 and remained above average in 2023 — reflecting historically elevated fertilizer prices during the same period. The USDA forecasts a 15pc dip in fertilizer costs in 2024 for corn growers, providing some reprieve compared with the last two years despite higher seed and various overhead expenses. "Factors like the rising costs of seeds, fertilizers and other inputs as well as more strict environmental regulations, specifically on water usage, have added to the financial and administrative burden for farmers," said Donnie Taylor, Agricultural Retailers Association senior vice-president of membership and corporate relations. By Connor Hyde Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Business intelligence reports

Get concise, trustworthy and unbiased analysis of the latest trends and developments in oil and energy markets. These reports are specially created for decision makers who don’t have time to track markets day-by-day, minute-by-minute.

Learn more