Panama Canal expansion trials in June but what about LNG?



A vessel will trial the newly-expanded Panama Canal from 27 June as part of the project which will cut journey time and distance for new US LNG producers selling into Asia.

It has not been an easy path and development of the expansion has been slow and more expensive than planned. Numerous problems included leaks that were detected in some of the locks during testing in September 2015.

But this week’s news shows progress has been made in this huge project – even if the global focus surrounding Panama is more on its financial affairs than its waterways.

The big news for LNG is that a chunk of US Gulf production will have access to a shorter, more direct route to key Asian buyers.

Assuming a travel speed of 18 knots – pretty typical for an LNG vessel – the number of days travelled from the US Gulf to Japan could look like this:

–          From Sabine Pass to Tokyo ports via Panama: 21

–          If travelling east through Suez: 33

–          If travelling southeast and south of Africa: 36

The cost of heading through Panama will be offset by the time, fuel and charter costs saved.

The only problem? Demand for LNG in east Asia is weak and more local Australian plants continue to ramp up new production.

And before we become too focused purely on shipping economics and market fundamentals here is a link to the launch of a very large vessel. It’s certainly not common place in the LNG industry but a reminder of the good old-fashioned way of getting a ship from the land to the sea:


Time for a dose of realism in designing financial regulation


It is interesting to think the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) planned ...

Learn more

Wire we waiting?


In an event that went largely unnoticed save for a select handful of expert news...

Learn more
More posts
Clock is ticking on MiFID II

Time is running out for energy companies that have to work out if they will be included or exempted ...

No alternative: Europe’s low-carbon energy transition will come of age in 2017

“Alternative energy”. Is that still a common phrase? In some quarters, it is. In a recent New Yo...

Should the EU get tough on the gas network codes?

Following the recent publication of the EU Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators’ (ACER)...

2016 – for LNG it was the year that wasn’t

The long-awaited surge of new global LNG production has not led to the widely-expected and sustained...

Ballast bonuses sink shipping activity

The cancellation of two planned LNG vessel charters in Europe this week shows that it’s becoming h...

A crazy week in UK power. But will the madness return this winter?

In recent days, UK power has been a crazy energy market to trade in. Late in the day on 14 September...

What’s in a name? That which we call a Bulgarian hub

Bulgaria and the European Commission have recently been announcing, with much fanfare, the country i...

This winter it really is about the weather

The cliche about weather driving energy prices, in particular on European gas and Asian LNG, is just...


Market Intelligence

ICIS provides market intelligence that help businesses in the energy, petrochemical and fertilizer industries.

Learn more


Across the globe, ICIS consultants provide detailed analysis and forecasting for the petrochemical, energy and fertilizer markets.

Learn more

Specialist Services

Find out more about how our specialist consulting services, events, conferences and training courses can help your teams.

Learn more

ICIS Insight

From our news service to our thought-leadership content, ICIS experts bring you the latest news and insight, when you need it.

Learn more