SMM takes GraviFloat stake

Sembcorp Marine has moved into the offshore gas terminal sector with a minor investment in Norwegian company GraviFloat.

It has acquired a 12% stake in Bergen-based company for $4m, with a right to increase its stake up to 20% by further equity injection.

GraviFloat was formed to design, deliver and operate re-deployable, gravity-based, modularised LNG and LPG Terminals for installation in shallow waters.

GraviFloat’s near-shore LNG terminals are designed to be installed in shallow waters and are fully fixed to the seabed when in operation.

“The GraviFloat system is developed as a cost effective solution to meet the trend toward natural gas fueling and is expected to help accelerate the build-out of natural gas terminal infrastructure, particularly in near-shore locations,” said GraviFloat chief executive Harald Vartdal.

The Singapore-listed shipyard group said the investment represents a new business venture for the Sembcorp Marine group.

“Our investment in GraviFloat represents the group’s ongoing quest to stay ahead and actively participate across a broad spectrum of the offshore oil & gas value chain,” said Wong Weng Sun, chief executive of Sembcorp Marine.

The GraviFloat technology allows the LNG terminal to be built and completed at a shipyard and installed in shallow waters to facilitate direct ship loading of LNG.

The terminals are said to be designed to offer a more cost-competitive solution compared with floating storage and regasification units (FSRUs).

GraviFloat was incorporated in Norway in 2006 as a spin-off of LMG Marin, a marine engineering and naval architecture company.