Ophir pens gas offtake deals, lowers cost for Fortuna FLNG

Ophir Energy has signed Heads of Agreements (“HoAs”) for LNG offtake from the Fortuna FLNG project, offshore E. Guinea, with six counterparties. The company on Wednesday said that all the parties involved were “established LNG buyers in European and Asian markets.”

Furthermore, Ophir Energy has reduced the gross capital expenditure estimate required to first gas from $800 million to $600 million based on recent input from the ongoing upstream FEED work.

Ophir is selling 2.2 MTPA of LNG offtake, however, the total demand requested under the HoAs has seen the offtake sold several times over, the company said. The HoAs are based on a variety of different pricing constructs with formulae that consist of either European gas market netbacks, oil indexation or a combination of both and that in some cases include the provision of a floor price. Offtake under several of the HoAs also incorporates a sharing of incremental diversion income earned above the base contract formula for LNG volumes that are subsequently sold into higher value markets.

As well as pricing structure, Ophir says it has secured additional elements to its LNG offtake HoAs that are significant for the development of the project. These include the offer to pre-pay for LNG volumes in substantial quantities over the early years of the contract. The funds received from pre-payments could cover 30%-50% of Ophir’s total net cost to first gas and could therefore be a major contributor towards funding of the project, the company added.

According to Ophir Energy, the Upstream FEED process is presently c. 50% complete and as a result, Management is able to refine and reduce the remaining upstream cost to first gas. The project has been able to capitalise on the deflationary cost environment and has been redesigned to increase standardisation of components wherever possible. Accordingly the current Management estimate for gross cost to first gas has reduced c. 25% from previous guidance to c. $600 million ($480 million net).


Fugro wins geotechnical work


Separately, Ophir has contracted Fugro to perform geotechnical, environmental and metocean surveys for the Fortuna project. The Fugro Searcher, Fugro Scout, and Fugro Frontier vessels have been deployed for this work, which is scheduled for completion in January 2016.

Commenting on the signings and cost reductions, Nick Cooper, Chief Executive of Ophir, said: “The Fortuna FLNG project continues to move forward on schedule with the now formal signing of all the HoAs for gas offtake with a core group of LNG buyers. Each offtaker’s proposal offers something different, thereby providing Ophir with a range of pricing formulae and differing commodity risk profiles which will be helpful when we narrow down the short list in Q1 2016.

“We are also pleased to report that the estimated cost to first gas has been reduced by a further 25% during FEED. This cost reduction, plus the offered LNG pre-payment mechanisms materially reduce the amount required to fund Ophir’s portion of the project ahead of the Final Investment Decision in mid-2016.”

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