Excelerate tipped as preferred bidder for Emirates FSRU

The US player looks to have beaten Golar LNG in a battle to secure a highly prized job.

US-based Excelerate Energy is rumoured to have been selected as the preferred bidder to supply a floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU) to Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

No announcement has been made by Emirates LNG developers, Abu Dhabi-based Mubadala Oil & Gas Co and state investment vehicle International Petroleum Investment Co, but industry sources indicate Excelerate has beaten Golar LNG — the other shortlisted party — to the business.

Mubadala is understood to have requested a newbuilding for the project and Excelerate is expected to confirm the first of eight optional FSRU berths it is holding at Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) to supply this. The first of these 173,400-cbm units, which will be capable of a baseload send-out capacity of 800 million cubic feet per day (cfd) with capacity peaking at over 950 million cfd, is pencilled in for an early 2015 delivery.

Emirates LNG has been targeted for a mid 2015 start-up.

Regas business followers report that this was the dream job that both Excelerate and Golar had been prioritising. They explain the attraction is that Mubadala, a business unit of Mubadala Development Co, is a cash-rich counterparty with a clear desire to push ahead with the project and likely access to LNG suppliers and buyers.

There has also been talk that a second FSRU unit may be required. Earlier reports said the facility will kick off with an initial 600 million cfd of capacity, with plans to expand this to 1.2 billion cfd either with a second floating regas unit or a onshore import facility.

The engineering arm of Korea Gas Corp (Kogas) has been acting as technical adviser on the project.

The LNG imports are required to meet growing energy demand in the expanding UAE ecomony, where gas is being used for both power production and desalination. The UAE’s first FSRU, which was supplied by Golar, was installed off Jebel Ali, near Dubai, in late 2010.

Excelerate controls a fleet of nine FSRUs. Three of these are currently serving as moored FSRUs, two in Argentina and one in Brazil. Another will return for a final season in Kuwait next year and a fifth is about to go into operation as Israel’s maiden import terminal. The company is also due to supply a newbuilding to Brazil in May 2014, a unit to Puerto Rico from the end of that year and is bidding on a number of other floating regas projects.