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Golar LNG stock is not the typical way to invest in the coming liquefied natural gas (LNG) export industry - but it will be one of the most profitable.
You see, while the global economy's struggles have hurt shipping stocks over the past few years, the shipping subsector of LNG carriers is currently flourishing, with about 10% annual growth over the last decade. LNG carriers transport natural gas that's been cooled to minus 260 degrees Fahrenheit.
And this sector has a bright future, as the United States is set to begin exporting its natural gas in 2015.
Industry-wide, approximately 55% of LNG ships are tied up in long-term contracts, making them unavailable for the coming U.S. export boom.
But Golar has ships ready to sign contracts, and demand will rise faster than supply - which is why Golar LNG stock is headed higher.
Golar LNG Limited: A 13-Vessel Fleet... and Growing
Golar LNG Limited (Nasdaq: GLNG) is part of Norwegian shipping magnate John Fredriksen's empire. Fredriksen's World Shipholding owns 45% of the company.
Golar has been in the LNG delivery business for more than 30 years and today is one of the largest independent operators of an LNG fleet.
The company's current fleet consists of 13 vessels, of which only four are tied up in long-term contracts.
Furthermore, Golar is also expecting delivery of 11 newly built vessels over the next several months.
But Golar's involvement in the LNG business extends beyond transportation - the company is also a leader in LNG technology.
Golar (Nasdaq: GLNG): More Than Shipping
Golar developed the world's first floating storage and regasification units (FSRUs) via the conversion of existing LNG carriers.
An FSRU is designed to receive oil or gas from a nearby offshore platform, process it, and then store it until it can be loaded onto a tanker or transported through a pipeline. The very first FSRU is the Golar Spirit.
In addition, the company has moved directly into the upstream LNG business, albeit in a small way...