Golar LNG Ltd.’s Cameroon floating liquefied natural gas (LNG) project has reached a major milestone with the final approval by all parties of the Gas Convention for the project. This final investment decision (FID) commits the project to a targeted start date for commissioning of second-quarter 2017.
At a Sept. 30 signing ceremony in Yaounde, Cameroon, Cameroon's state-owned oil and gas company Societe Nationale des Hydrocarbures (SNH), Perenco Cameroon, Golar Hilli Corp., and Golar Cameroon (together "Golar") executed a fully effective and binding Gas Convention with the Republic of Cameroon that endorses and governs the installation and operation of the GoFLNG vessel in Cameroon waters offshore of Kribi.
The binding tolling agreement, having already been agreed between Golar and Perenco, is expected to be formally approved by the 25% upstream partner SNH imminently. This agreement establishes the terms under which Golar shall provide liquefaction, storage, and off-loading services to SNH and Perenco as upstream joint venture partners.
The signing today of the Gas Convention and the finalization of the tolling agreement terms facilitates the financing structure previously announced and will enable Golar to draw down up to $700 million from the facility to fund the ongoing conversion cost. It is estimated that no further direct funding from Golar will be required for the Hilli conversion, with the remainder of the conversion project being financed through this debt facility.
For the past two years, Golar, Perenco, and SNH have been developing a floating LNG export project located near shore off the coast of Cameroon in an area of benign sea states and utilizing Golar's floating liquefaction technology (GoFLNG). The project is based on the allocation of 500 bcf of natural gas reserves from offshore Kribi fields, which will be exported to global markets via the GoFLNG facility Hilli, now under construction at Keppel Shipyard in Singapore. Golar will provide the liquefaction facilities and services under a tolling agreement to SNH and Perenco as parties of the upstream joint venture. It is anticipated that the allocated reserves will be produced at a rate of 1.2 million tons of LNG per annum, representing 50% of the vessel's nameplate production capacity, over an approximate eight-year period. It is expected that production will begin in the second quarter of 2017.
The project in Cameroon is expected to deliver an EBITDA for Golar in the first full year of operation, based on the utilization of two of the available four liquefaction trains, in the range of $170 million to $300 million, with a flexible tolling structure which correlates to Brent crude oil prices ranging from a floor of $60/bbl to a cap of $102/bbl. The tolling agreement also includes a tariff for a three-train operation in case additional gas volumes can be processed or production advanced. Full production by three trains will increase the EBITDA to between $240 million and $430 million corresponding to the same range of Brent crude oil prices.