Global shipyard berths for LNG carrier newbuildings could be increased to 70 vessels per year by adding up to 15 more slots, according to French LNG cargo containment designer.

Speaking on a first quarter results call chairman and chief executive Philippe Berterottierre said existing yards could add a further 10 ships. But he said other shipbuilders are contemplating entering the LNG sector.

“Let’s see whether all these plans are going to materialise in 2022,” he said.

“We are going to help people who would like to build LNG carriers,” he said, “in order to cope with the very strong demand.”

Answering questions on forecasts for LNG carrier demand, Berterottierre acknowledged that the war in Ukraine was a “game-changer”.

Following a March statement, GTT further broke down its exposure to Russian projects where it is involved in the design of three gravity-based storage units (GBS), 15 ice-breaker LNG carriers — all of which are being constructed in Russia and eight conventional LNG vessels for Novatek’s Arctic LNG 2 project.

The company is also working on a further six ice-breaking LNG ships and two floating storage units for the region which are being built in Asia.

GTT said that for the Russian-building contracts it is due to receive revenues of €97m by 2026 of which €21m is due this year.

Revenues of €24m are due by 2024 from the six ice-breaking LNG carriers and two FSU, that are building at Asian yards, of which €30m is scheduled for 2022.

GTT chief financial officer Virgine Aubagnac told analysts: “As long as projects are not sanctioned and construction continues, we will recognise revenue.”

GTT’s first quarter revenue fell 22.1% down at €68.2m compared to €87.6m in the same period a year earlier.

The company said: “The first quarter of 2021 still benefited from the 2020’s strong dynamic, while the first quarter of 2022 did not fully benefit from the numerous orders taken in 2021.”

Revenues generated by its subsidiary technology provider Elogen also fell slightly year-on-year.

Berterottiere said the company’s performance remains “very strong” and “in line with that of 2021.”

GTT is targeting revenues of between €290m and €320m for 2022 and said it expects the “current robust order momentum” to boost its earnings from 2023 onwards.

But it cautions that it may have to revise its targets if Russian projects risks materialise.

In the first quarter of 2022 GTT won orders to design the tanks for 34 LNG carriers delivering between the third quarter of 2024 and the same period of 2026.

The company also secured contracts to supply LNG-fuel tanks for 20 vessels during the period.

Berterottierre said LNG as a fuel is “very competitive”, against the high oil prices and said the payback time for the LNG fuelling systems on a 15000-teu container ship is currently less than two years.

The company said that as of 31 March 2022 its orderbook, excluding the LNG fuelling tanks, stood at 189 units, comprising 165 LNG carriers, six ethane vessels, two FSUs, one floating LNG (FLNG) production units, three GBS and 12 onshore tanks.

GTT reduced its stake in French electricity utility Engie to 21% during the quarter.