Stolt-Nielsen, Golar LNG and Höegh LNG are joining forces in a new $182m small scale LNG shipping venture. The three are backing Avenir LNG to pursue opportunities to deliver LNG to areas of stranded demand, as well as the development of LNG bunkering capabilities. The investment will be contributed as cash and equity-in-kind and will fund the construction of six small-scale LNG carriers, a small-scale storage terminal and regasification facilities.
Avenir LNG was formed by Stolt-Nielsen in 2017 to provide LNG to markets lacking access to natural gas pipelines. With this joint investment, Stolt-Nielsen will consolidate all its LNG activities into Avenir, including four LNG newbuildings on order at Keppel Singmarine in Nantong, China and the joint-venture LNG terminal and distribution facility to be constructed in the port of Oristano, Sardinia. Avenir plans to source and ship LNG to the terminal using small LNG carriers, and to distribute the LNG in trucks and through regasification into local network grids. In addition, Avenir plans to order two further small-scale LNG carriers.
Commenting on the transaction, Niels G. Stolt-Nielsen, CEO of Stolt-Nielsen Limited, said, “The combination of Stolt-Nielsen’s logistics capabilities and our partners’ experience in LNG carriers, FSRUs and FLNGs positions Avenir as an emerging leader in small-scale LNG logistics for the power, bunkering, trucking and industrials markets. With the implementation of the IMO’s 2020 emissions regulations approaching, demand for LNG as a cleaner, low-sulphur marine fuel is increasing. Each of the LNG newbuildings is designed to perform safe and efficient ship-to-ship LNG bunkering, which Avenir LNG plans to introduce at key strategic ports.”
Stolt-Nielsen Limited remains the largest shareholder of Avenir LNG with ownership of 50%. Golar LNG and Höegh LNG Holdings each hold a 25% share. Subsequent to the initial capital raised, Avenir LNG intends to raise an additional $10m through strategic investors, with plans to register on the NOTC before the end of 2018.