Greek shipowner Dynagas is in the process of securing up to four berths for its pioneering super-size LNG carriers with China’s Dalian Shipbuilding Industry Co (DSIC) as owners turn to Chinese yards in search of LNG berths.
Newbuilding sources in Europe and Asia said Dynagas is close to signing a letter of intent for two firm 200,000-cbm LNG vessels with the planned deal said to include a further pair of options.
Dynagas is believed to be working in partnership with a Chinese leasing company on the orders.
The shipowner has been asked for confirmation and comment on the upcoming business.
Delivery dates are unclear as yet but are likely to be later in 2026 or in 2027.
Pricing is also tricky. Chinese shipbuilders are understood to be offering LNG carrier berths at prices around the $235m mark.
But Dynagas’ LNG carriers are at least 20,000-cbm larger than conventional vessels, which are generally in the 174,000-cbm to 180,000-cbm size range, and this is likely to add to their costs.
Competition for Chinese LNG berths is also running red hot. South Korean yards are largely full for this sector and are, as yet, refusing to release any of their 2027 delivery slots due to uncertainties over pricing. In the face of this demand, shipbuilders in China may prove less flexible on pricing.
On the flip side, the planned Dynagas vessels look set to be DSIC’s first LNG carrier export orders, which may give the owner a little leeway for negotiation.
DSIC is a newcomer to large LNG carrier construction.
The China State Shipbuilding Corp-controlled yard is building two 175,000-cbm vessels for China Merchants Energy Shipping and is sitting on options for a further pair of ships.
TradeWinds understands that DSIC had been approached by several owners and was in close discussions with Evangelos Marinakis’ Capital Gas at one point but discussions foundered on pricing.
Dynagas has ordered nine of its 200,000-cbm LNG carriers at Hyundai Heavy Industries in South Korea. The ships, two of which have been delivered, were specially designed for long-haul LNG trades from the US. All the vessels are on charter to US producer Cheniere Energy.
Brokers said the switch to China illustrates shipowners’ frustrations at being unable to secure slots at South Korean yards.
In September, TradeWinds reported that Jeppe Jensen-led Celsius Tankers was in talks with Yangzijiang Shipbuilding and China Merchants Heavy Industries — shipbuilders that are trying to make a break into LNG carrier construction — as the company moved to pin down berths for between 10 and 12 LNG carriers.
Dynagas has already been a patron of Chinese LNG shipowning and shipbuilding.
The shipowner signed up to a raft of conventional and Arc7 LNG carrier tonnage for Russia’s Yamal project in partnership with China’s Sinotrans.
In addition, Dynagas gave China its first floating storage and regasification unit, building two vessels at Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding (Group), that will now be used in Germany as the country moves to replace Russian pipeline gas.