Oslo-listed Flex LNG has signed contracts to buy six new liquefied natural gas (LNG) vessels for its fleet by 2019, as it bets on increasing fuel demand from Britain and other countries, its chief executive told Reuters.
The gas shipping company said earlier this year it was considering buying the six vessels, each with around 170,000 cubic metres of capacity, subject to securing funding for the $1.2-billion transaction.
Geveran Trading, the private investment vehicle of billionaire shipping tycoon John Fredriksen, acquired 52 percent of Flex LNG earlier this year, enabling the necessary finance.
“All of the contracts have been signed and the initial payments have been processed during the course of this month,” said Flex LNG chief executive Jonathan Cook.
Samsung Heavy Industries, Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering are commissioned with constructing the vessels. “We expect the first two ships (to be delivered) in January (2018), and four more by August, 2019,” Cook said.
Flex LNG is aiming to charter out some of the vessels in multi-year deals and commit others to spot and short-term LNG shipping markets.
Flex LNG bought its first four LNG vessels this March, which have 660,000 cubic metres of capacity in total and are in operation.