Watson Farley & Williams (“WFW”) advised long-standing client Höegh LNG Holdings Ltd. (“Höegh LNG”) on an investment forming part of a combined commitment of up to US$182m from Stolt-Nielsen Ltd. (“Stolt-Nielsen”), Golar LNG Ltd. (“Golar LNG”) and Höegh LNG in Avenir LNG Limited (“Avenir”) for the pursuit of opportunities in small-scale LNG.
Höegh LNG and Golar will each take an initial 25% stake in Avenir, which was formed in 2017 by Stolt-Neilsen, who will control the remaining 50%.
Avenir will pursue opportunities in small-scale LNG, including the delivery of LNG to areas of stranded demand, the development of LNG bunkering services and supply to the transportation sector. It currently has four new vessels on order at the Keppel Nantong shipyard in Jiangsu province, China, with an LNG terminal and distribution facility to be constructed at the port of Oristano, Sardinia, Italy.
Listed on the Oslo stock exchange, Höegh LNG is a leading worldwide owner and operator of floating LNG import terminals, floating storage and regasification units (FSRUs), and one of the most experienced global operators of LNG Carriers (LNGCs). Its vision and strategy is to develop its business through an extended service offering, with large-scale FSRUs as its main product, and to focus on establishing long-term contracts with attractive risk-adjusted returns involving credible counterparts.
The multi-disciplinary WFW London team that advised Höegh LNG was led by Corporate Partner Mark Tooke, working closely with Partner and Global Maritime Sector Head Lindsey Keeble. Energy & Infrastructure Senior Associate Emmanuel Ninos and Associate Craig Bruce provided support on construction law matters, with Competition Partner Jeremy Robinson and Senior Associate Vineet Budhiraja advising Höegh LNG on the regulatory and competition law aspects of the transaction.
Mark commented: “We’re delighted that we were able to assist Höegh LNG on this significant strategic joint venture that brings together three leading shipowners and operators to develop facilities that will serve a vital need by bringing LNG to areas of stranded demand. It is also testament to WFW’s capability to field an integrated team with legal experts in the energy, shipping transportation and infrastructure sectors, and underlines our standing as the leading law firm worldwide to the maritime sector across all services from corporate and finance to construction and regulatory”.