Fortuna LNG ‘not dead’ despite Schlumberger departure

31 May 2018 16:51 Source:ICIS

LONDON (ICIS)--Golar LNG is still committed to the Fortuna floating LNG export project in Equatorial Guinea despite services company Schlumberger pulling out and with funding options remaining uncertain.

Golar and Schlumberger plan to wind down OneLNG, a joint venture between the two companies, with Schlumberger departing after a delay with its funding arrangements for Fortuna FLNG, Golar said in its first quarter results on 31 May.

But Golar will keep working with Ophir Energy, the company leading the project, to find financing solutions.

“We still believe in the Fortuna project,” said Iain Ross, Golar LNG CEO during the first quarter results presentation. “I don’t believe it’s dead at all.”

He added that funding options remain elusive but commercial negotiations are ongoing.

Ross said that Golar and Ophir are trying attract new equity partners into the project after Schlumberger’s exit.

That could be either a technology company or an oil and gas operations company.

Schlumberger was expected to work on upstream capabilities for Fortuna, while Golar would develop FLNG solutions.

Golar said previously that the Golar Gandria vessel would be used in the project to produce LNG and that the vessel had moved to the ship yard in Singapore to commence early conversion works.

Ross refused to comment on whether the vessel will be used for another project or if it is still being kept for Fortuna.

“We’re carrying early works on Gandria, it’s nothing specific for a certain project,” Ross said. “It would accelerate any project.”

Golar is also involved in an FLNG project with UK major BP offshore Senegal and Mauritania, where funding is expected to be finalised this year.

A final investment decision (FID) on Fortuna was expected last summer.

Ross said that a combination of reasons have made it impossible to arrange funding so far. They include country political risks, complexity of the project’s structure, and the size of counterparties.

“Having BP as a partner is pretty helpful for financing,” Ross said.

London-based Ophir added on Thursday that it had “already held informal discussions with other, well-capitalised, potential partners for our Fortuna project.”

By Ekaterina Kravtsova