Cosco Shipping Energy Transportation (CSET) has reported a 44% jump in net profit for the first nine months of 2022 on the back of the hot LNG market.

The Hong Kong-listed company said net income for the January to September period was CNY 6.4bn ($880m) versus the CNY 4.4bn seen 12 months earlier.

CSET said its LNG shipping activities contributed CNY 5.7bn, or almost 90% of its net profit in the first nine months of the year.

The strong LNG markets and the improving crude tanker markets helped CEST to post a third-quarter net profit of CNY 4.8bn.

CSET said the VLCC rates have strong recovered since August 2022 on the back of increasing crude exports out of the US Gulf and the Middle East.

“In the third quarter of 2022, the theoretical evaluated time-charter equivalent (TCE) of VLCC TD3C (Middle East-China) recorded [a rate of] $25,576 per day, which shows a significant improvement compared to that of $-7,348 per day in the first half of the year,” CSET said.

The company said it also adjusted its dry-docking schedules, promoting a “significant improvement in spot market revenue”.

In terms of product oil shipping market, CSET said the shift in oil trading routes and the growing cross-regional trade facilitated by the tight supply of gasoil have jointly driven up the freight rate of product oil tanker.

“Since March 2022, the overall performance of freight rate of product oil tanker has been firmer compared to that of crude oil tankers,” CSET said.

On the newbuilding front, CSET said the number of LNG carriers it had on order had increased from nine at the start of the year to 18 as of the end of September 2022.

In late October, TradeWinds reported that CSET had teamed up with Japan’s Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) to order up to five LNG carrier newbuildings on the back of charters from Chinese energy major Sinopec.

The order, which is expected to be placed at China’s Dalian Shipbuilding Industry Co (DSIC), will be for three firm ships plus options for two more.

Brokers believe MOL and CSET will be paying around $230m each to DSIC for the 175,000-cbm LNG carrier newbuildings.

TradeWinds reported in April that CSET was poised to order six LNG carriers at China’s Hudong-Zhonghua for charter to Sinopec, but that deal did not materialise.