The Outlook for Floating Storage and Regasification Units (FSRUs)
FSRUs are a game changer providing a lower cost, fast track and flexible alternative to traditional onshore LNG import terminals. The first unit entered service in 2005 and today there are 23 FSRU terminals in operation. FSRUs are normally leased and can be viewed as a flexible pipeline supplying gas quickly, cheaply, and on a short term gas contract basis to developing markets. This was recently demonstrated in Egypt with delivery of gas in just 5 months from issue of the tender documents – very different from an onshore terminal which is a sunk cost and typically takes 4-5 years to construct. Many of the current, and planned, FSRU terminals are for the rapidly increasing gas-to-power market where there is no access to existing gas infrastructure. Forecasts indicate that up to 50 floating LNG terminals could be in operation by 2025. This confidence is demonstrated by the owners ordering new vessels at a cost of $250m each on a speculative basis.