Stolt-Nielsen chooses Keppel for a pair of new LNG tankers

Oslo-listed Stolt-Nielsen has decided to award the construction of two (with options for further two) LNG tankers with 7,500 cu m capacity to the Singapore-based Keppel Offshore & Marine, sources close to the deal tell Splash.

The investment for both those vessels will be over $50m and the deliveries are scheduled from 2018 onwards.

A few weeks ago Stolt-Nielsen’s top managers revealed that there were in advanced discussions with one shipyard based in Asia for two vessels tailor made to serve a developing LNG terminal onshore in the Italian port of Oristano, Sardinia. The ship order was subject to the release of the final approval on the project from the Sardinia region which came just yesterday thus allowing the project to go ahead. In the next few days Stolt-Nielsen is therefore expected to proceed signing the shipbuilding contract with Keppel.

Higas is the company in charge for studying, projecting and building up the onshore terminal controlled by two Italian companies, Gas&Heat and CPL Concordia. In October last year Stolt-Nielsen purchased a 10% stake in Higas, with an option to acquire up to 80% of the Sardinian company. The LNG is to be shipped to the terminal in Oristano by LNG tankers and distributed to customers via pipeline, trucks and also from ship to ship.

For Keppel, which has downsized dramatically this year on the back of the offshore slump, the order is an enormous fillip. Demand for small LNG tankers is set to be large in the coming years and could become a real revenue base for the troubled yard.

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