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Lloyds List: Small is beautiful for new IM Skaugen LNG project

Tony Gray, Lloyds List
Published: Jul 24, 2007

NORWEGIAN shipowner IM Skaugen and compatriot utility Lyse Gass are pushing ahead with a liquefied natural gas project which will involve unusually small vessels.

They have established Nordic LNG, a joint venture which aims to become a market leader in the small-scale distribution of LNG in north Europe.

Lyse and Celsius Invest will construct a liquefaction plant with an annual production capacity of 300,000 tonnes at Risavika, just outside Stavanger.

A contract was signed last week with German engineering company Linde for the construction of the plant, which will cost €120m and is expected to come onstream in 2010.

A plan to increase output capacity of the facility, in which Skaugen will not have an ownership interest, to 600,000 tonnes is being assessed.

Nordic LNG, which is 40% owned by Skaugen and 60% by Lyse and its partners, will be entrusted with the sales and logistics of the LNG distribution.

Skaugen will initially charter one of the 10 10,000 cu m multigas vessels it has under construction in China from 2010. These $30m vessels can handle both LNG and ethylene/liquefied petroleum gas cargoes.

Skaugen said its ambition in this new market is ‘not only to transport the LNG but also take an active part in the whole supply chain up to the point of acting as a seller of LNG directly to the end users.’

Nordic LNG aims to provide gas to industrial companies without access to pipeline supplies.

‘Nordic LNG will focus on industrial customers in Norway and Sweden, but will also address the entire northern European market.’

Almost 20% of the liquefaction plant’s capacity is contracted, and among the first customers is Sweden’s AGA.

Shell will deliver natural gas from the Karsto terminal via Lyse’s pipeline to the plant.

The gas contract includes 200m cu m a year, making it one of the largest ever in Norway.

Nordic LNG’s partners are adopting a business model under which the investments made by each partner will be carried on its own balance sheets.

These assets will then be placed into an ebitda (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) sharing pool where IM Skaugen’s share of ebitda from the business will be about 20%, with the final share depending on the size of the final investments made when the plant and the vessels are commissioned.

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