Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) has fixed the world’s largest floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU), MOL FSRU Challenger, under a short-term contract in Turkey, on delivery next month.
MOL president and chief executive Junichiro Ikeda confirmed the deal after the naming ceremony for the 263,000 m3 newbuilding at the Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering yard at Okpo in South Korea.
The FSRU was built for charter to Gas Sayago of Uruguay, which formalised the agreement in July last year. However, the Uruguay project is behind schedule, prompting MOL to scour the market for a short-term fixture.
MOL FSRU Challenger is the first FSRU that Japan’s largest LNG shipowner has built independently and will own and operate. It will start operating this year, MOL says. The vessel is designed to re-export LNG, offloading smaller cargoes for coastal deliveries.
“Its specification allows for the re-export of LNG and supply of LNG to neighbouring regions where the vessel is located,” MOL said in a statement.
“MOL is moving boldly into the LNG secondary transport and LNG fuel-supply businesses in Asia and central and South America, where it anticipates rising demand for LNG.”
MOL is the first Japanese shipowner to invest in FSRUs. It announced this month that it will also take a stake in the Swan LNG-led FSRU start-up at Jafrabad in Gujarat, India. The deal gives MOL the option to take joint ownership of the 180,000 mᶾ newbuilding that Swan subsidiary Triumph Offshore has ordered at Hyundai Heavy Industries.
MOL says the deal allows it to “pursue vertically integrated businesses that are not limited to transportation in the LNG business”.
Earlier this week, MOL also took delivery of the 174,000 mᶾ conventional LNG carrier CESI Tianjin from China-based Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding Group in Shanghai.
CESI Tianjin is the fourth of six newbuildings booked by a joint venture between MOL, China Cosco Shipping and China Petroleum & Chemical Corp (Sinopec). The vessel will deliver cargoes that Sinopec has contracted at Australia-Pacific LNG. MOL expects to receive the final two newbuildings by next year.
The partners secured finance for CESI Tianjin from Export-Import Bank of China. The vessel is the eighth newbuilding of 14 that China EximBank has financed for construction in China. The bank said this week that it will finance additional LNGC newbuildings to boost the country’s shipyards.