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Golar LNG replaces chief executive and establishes new downstream business

Golar LNG is replacing its chief executive and reshuffling some of its senior positions in Oslo as it turns its attention more towards floating LNG (FLNG) and now downstream projects too.

“The fast growing LNG industry is going through a rapid transformation where monetisation of stranded gas, lowering the cost of LNG production and the opening of new markets will all be critical success factors,” the company said in a release today.

“An anticipated delinking of LNG prices from oil prices will also create additional demand for LNG. The traditional approach to executing LNG projects favoured by many oil majors may not cost effectively meet this new demand.”

Gary Smith is resigning from his position as Golar’s chief executive and will be replaced by Oscar Spieler, who has been responsible for the development of the Hilli (pictured) FLNG project and was Golar’s CEO between March 2006 and July 2009. The replacement reflects Golar’s growing focus on FLNG over LNG shipping.

“Mr Smith has an excellent standing within the LNG industry and has contributed positively in the process of developing Golar into a mid-stream LNG player,” Golar said. Smith’s future plans were not disclosed.

Spieler will be advised in his new position by Doug Arnell, who was CEO of Golar until January 2015 and remains as a senior advisor to the company.

Golar says it will explore the development of a new downstream LNG business, which would handle imports of the gas into emerging markets via “cheaper, cleaner, integrated, LNG-based energy solutions”.

The company is currently seeking joint private-equity investment in the newly formed Golar Power, which will participate in a power station project in Sergipe, northeastern Brazil.

In September last year, Golar announced it had negotiated rights to take up to 25% equity in the Sergipe project, which is backed by a 1.5-GW combined-cycle gas-fired power plant and has been awarded a power provider agreement (PPA) by the Brazilian government. Golar has the exclusive right to provide a floating storage regasification unit (FSRU) to the proposed project.

Golar has appointed Eduardo Antonello to structure and develop Golar Power. Antonello has been involved in developing the Sergipe project from inception and is currently a partner in Magni Partners, a business partnership founded by Tor Olav Troim.

Golar has also brought in Krzysztof Zielicki to structure the cooperation with Schlumberger. The two companies signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in January to jointly market their FLNG, engineering and project management services to owners of gas reserves, investors and governments.

Zielicki was previously Rosneft’s global Head of M&A and strategy, preceded by 25 years at BP during and a stint as TNK-BP’s vice-president of development. “Mr. Zielicki adds significant upstream experience to the Golar team,” Golar said.

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Holly Birkett

Holly is Splash's Online Editor and correspondent for the UK and Mediterranean. She has been a maritime journalist since 2010, and has written for and edited several trade publications. She is currently studying for membership of the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers. In 2013, Holly won the Seahorse Club's Social Media Journalist of the Year award. She is currently based in London.
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