US-based International Seaways (INSW) has sold its 49.9% stake in four Q-Flex LNG vessels to its joint venture partner Qatar’s Nakilat for US$123M
As a result of the sale and purchase agreement, Nakilat wholly owns 29 LNG vessels, out of its overall fleet of 74 LNG and LPG vessels.
Some of the largest LNG carriers in the world with a cargo carrying capacity of 217,000 m3 each, the four LNG carriers, Tembek, Al Hamla, Al Gattara and Al Gharrafa, have been operated and managed inhouse by Nakilat’s ship management arm, Nakilat Shipping Qatar Limited (NSQL), since 2014. Additionally, NSQL manages 10 other LNG and four LPG carriers.
“Nakilat and INSW worked in partnership to conclude this transaction, demonstrating the high level of teamwork the companies have shared for over 15 years,” said INSW president and chief executive Lois K Zabrocky. “Nakilat continues to be a very valued INSW partner and remains an important part of our ongoing commitment to our business relationships in Qatar.”
In a company presentation, INSW reported that all four LNGCs were on charter for 25 years to Qatar Liquefied Gas Company through 2032-2033. INSW estimated the book value of the joint venture at US$116M as of 30 June 2019.
Nakilat chief executive Abdullah Al Sulaiti said “These vessels are chartered to our long-standing partner Qatargas, the world’s largest exporter of clean energy. Owning the vessels that we manage allows Nakilat to consolidate its fleet, provides greater operational flexibility and optimisation of resources, leading to the realisation of cost savings with minimal risks and strengthens our customer focus.” Mr Al Sulaiti added, “This transaction affirms the strong financial standing of the company and our commitment to maximise value for our shareholders, in alignment with our vision to be a global leader and provider of choice for energy transportation and maritime services.”
Nakilat’s LNG shipping fleet is among the largest in the world, comprising 14 Q-Max, 31 Q-Flex and 24 conventional vessels, including four newbuilds. The company also owns four LPG vessels and one floating storage regasification unit as part of its fleet.
The move by Nakilat comes ahead of Qatar’s planned expansion of its LNG export capacity from its current 77 mta to 110 mta of LNG by 2024. Once fully commissioned, the increased capacity will enable Qatar to surpass Australia once again to become the world’s largest exporter of LNG.