Ghana Still Stalled: Hoegh LNG
Norway-based shipowner Hoegh LNG said in annual results that its Ghana floating LNG import project remains stalled.
In its February 28 statement, the shipowner said its joint project with Israeli-owned Quantum Power to develop a floating LNG import terminal at Tema in Ghana “remains subject to government approval; as the government selection and approval process remains unclear, no assurance can be given on a positive selection or the timeline of the process.” Its FSRU, Hoegh Giant, was to have started operations in Ghana by mid-2018. But instead earlier this month the vessel began a three-year time charter to Spanish firm Gas Natural and recently picked up GN's first US cargo lifting from Cheniere's US Sabine Pass terminal. It is expected to deliver it soon to Chile's Mejillones terminal.
Ghana now has a reputation as the graveyard of FSRU projects, with three projects now stalled: Golar LNG redeployed a FSRU last September after it had sat idle offshore Ghana for 16 months while a smaller Skaugen-run project has suffered similar frustrations.
Hoegh said an FSRU project in Chile, due to have started up by mid-2018, is also delayed by government permitting. So a Hoegh newbuild vessel that was to have served that project must now seek alternative employment.
Hoegh LNG reported a 4Q2017 net profit of $20mn, up from $0.8mn in 4Q2016; its full year profit tripled to $41mn in 2017, from $14mn the previous year. The shipowner said its “primary focus” is on securing firm employment for three FSRUs it has under construction, including the one originally earmarked for Chile; this could include chartering them out as regular LNG carriers.
Hoegh has FSRUs in active service in China, Colombia, Egypt, Indonesia, Lithuania and Turkey. These, in common with the rest of the sector, were all busy.
It said that LNG imports in 2017 by all FSRUs worldwide, including those owned by rivals, increased by 3% year on year to 33.5mn metric tons; in January 2018 they shot up by 34% to 2.3mn mt.
Hoegh LNG ships either in service or with a contract for future start-up
(Graphic credit: Hoegh LNG)