Gas Natural Fenosa (GNF) of Spain has taken Höegh LNG’s 170,000 m3 floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU) Hoegh Giant on charter for three years.
GNF plans to use the vessel initially as a conventional LNG carrier and the ship is earmarked to lift the inaugural cargo that the Spanish gas company has agreed to buy from Cheniere Energy’s Sabine Pass LNG terminal in the US under a long-term contract.
The time charter agreement with Höegh LNG includes an option that enables GNF to utilise Hoegh Giant as an FSRU. Such employment would command a pre-defined, regas vessel day rate and be for a pre-defined term.
Hoegh Giant was completed by Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) in April 2017 and is Höegh LNG’s seventh FSRU. It originally intended to deploy the ship in the Ghanaian port of Tema as a regasification vessel under a 20-year charter to Quantum Power, but that LNG import project has been delayed.
Whether the Quantum scheme in Ghana materialises in the foreseeable future is a moot point because it is one of three competing FSRU-based receiving facilities that have been proposed for this West African nation. In addition, Ghana has been enjoying some success in the development of its own offshore natural gas resources in recent years.
Höegh LNG has three additional FSRUs under construction, comprising two at HHI and one at Samsung Heavy Industries, for delivery through Q2 2019. Employment for the HHI ships as FSRUs had been lined up in Chile and Pakistan, but the Pakistan project has now been cancelled while the Chilean venture, which is being promoted by Penco LNG in Concepción Bay, has been delayed.
The Penco LNG project start-up has been put back by up to 18 months, until early 2020, due to the need to restart the permitting process and retender the jetty construction contract. Höegh LNG points out that Penco LNG and its shareholders, EDF, BioBio Genera and Cheniere, remain committed to the project.
The shipowner is confident of the prospects for its newbuildings because, if need be, large FSRUs can be used as conventional LNGCs until their services as regas vessels are required. Also, such is the high level of interest worldwide in the use of FSRUs as receiving terminals that, if one project does not materialise, there are plenty of alternatives schemes to tender for.