Höegh LNG Holdings Ltd. (“Höegh LNG”) announced today an investment of USD 24.75 million in Avenir LNG Ltd. (“Avenir LNG”). The investment is part of a combined commitment of up to USD 182 million from Stolt-Nielsen Ltd. (“Stolt-Nielsen”), Golar LNG Ltd. (“Golar LNG”) and Höegh LNG for the pursuit of opportunities in small-scale LNG, including the delivery of LNG to areas of stranded demand, the development of LNG bunkering services and supply to the transportation sector.
Avenir LNG intends to utilize the best-in-class capabilities of its anchor investors to build a global presence as the leading provider of small-scale LNG, and it will be among the first movers in this market with a fleet of small-scale LNG carriers and terminals. The market for small-scale LNG is rapidly expanding, with great potential to be realized within off-grid power, transportation and bunkering markets because of high-margin oil-to-gas switching, policy changes and environmental benefits of consuming LNG relative to alternative fossil fuels. The forthcoming IMO 2020 regulations is one of many driving factors for increased small-scale LNG consumption, and Avenir LNG plans to introduce safe and efficient ship-to-ship bunkering services at key strategic ports to meet and develop demand for LNG as a marine fuel.
Avenir LNG was originally formed by Stolt-Nielsen in 2017 to provide LNG to markets lacking access to LNG pipelines. Stolt-Nielsen will consolidate all its LNG activities into Avenir, including four small-scale LNG carriers currently under construction at Keppel Singmarine in Nantong, China, and the LNG terminal and distribution facility under development in the Italian port of Oristano, Sardinia. Avenir LNG plans to source and ship LNG to the terminal using small LNG carriers, and distribute the LNG in trucks and through regasification into the local gas grid.
Höegh LNG and Golar LNG will each hold an initial share of 25% of Avenir LNG, while Stolt-Nielsen will remain the largest shareholder with ownership of 50%. Subsequent to the initial capital raise, Avenir LNG contemplates a public listing at the Oslo Over-The-Counter market during 2018.
Höegh LNG President and CEO Sveinung J.S. Støhle commented: “Due to the size and location of our FSRU fleet, Höegh LNG has for some time seen small-scale LNG services as an attractive complement to our core offering of full-scale FSRUs. We have evaluated a range of opportunities to establish a strong competitive position in this growing market, and to this end, we are pleased to be partnering with Stolt-Nielsen and Golar LNG to create a market leader in Avenir LNG. The investment provides Höegh LNG with an opportunity to enter the segment through a venture that is at an advanced stage of development. It represents a highly attractive opportunity for growth and has direct synergies with our core full-scale FSRU business through the incremental LNG demand it is expected to deliver.”