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[$$] Shipping Companies Banking on Gas Carriers as LNG Demand Grows

A raft of U.S. natural gas projects coming online in the next few years are likely to boost the global fleet of seagoing LNG tankers by as much as a third, as shipping operators jarred by sharp swings in oil markets pounce on a big new stream of business. At about $175 million each, vessels outfitted for liquefied natural gas can cost several times more than other ship types. Demand has grown sharply in Asia, in particular, while output has soared in the U.S. as improved hydraulic fracturing technology has made drilling for both shale oil and gas more cost effective.