24 May 2014, News Wires – The Angola LNG consortium is looking to charter out its entire fleet of liquefied natural gas carriers after a recent pipeline rupture forced the new plant offline, according to a report.
One of seven vessels has already found a short-term charter, according to Reuters, which said the consortium has approached shipbrokers about the whole fleet.
The $10 billion LNG plant in Angola was recently forced offline following a 10 April pipeline rupture, with a spokesperson for the consortium saying recently that inspections and repairs “will take a number of months”.
Upstream understands, however, that the 5.2 million-tonne-per-annum facility in Soyo may be offline for up to a year.
The one LNG carrier already to secure a new charter is due to soon load a cargo in Nigeria, Reuters reported.
“The other ships are currently being discussed … some of the charters being discussed are at least until July or August,” an unidentified source told the news wire.
“But (the consortium) have been very vague about how long they can charter out the ships.”
US supermajor Chevron is the operator with a 36.4% stake, while state player Sonangol owns 22.8%. France’s Total, UK supermajor BP and Eni of Italy are also partners, each on 13.6%.
The Angola LNG plant started operations in July last year — 18 months late — delivering its first cargo to Brazil but not before fending off a range of issues including fires, pipeline leaks and maintenance delays.
Due to “technical problems” the plant was not expected to hit full capacity until 2015, running at about half capacity through most of this year, Chevron said in February.
The project has also seen difficulties with exploration projects used to supply feedstock, complicating efforts to source gas supply.