Belgian shipowner Exmar is selling its barge-based floating LNG production unit Tango FLNG (built 2017) to Italian energy company Eni for over $500m for use in a project for the Congo in Central Africa.

Exmar said it has also agreed a 10-year charter for a floating storage unit (FSU) which will be based on the conversion of a LNG carrier.

It has signed an agreement with Eni on the 0.6 million tonne per annum floater which has a storage capacity of 16,100-cbm.

The shipping company said the value of the transaction for the sale is in a range of $572m and $694m , depending on the actual performance of Tango FLNG during the first six months on site.

The floater is to be made available to Eni at the closing date of the transaction, which is expected in the second half of August 2022, Exmar said.

The mini FLNG unit, which was ordered speculatively by Exmar, is expected to be deployed on the the Eni Congo-operated Marine XII offshore block in the Republic of Congo.

Exmar did not name the LNG carrier which will be used as the FSU in connection with the project.

In February, TradeWinds reported that Exmar was marketing its 138,000-cbm LNG carrier Excalibur (built 2002) for sale.

Exmar said it will provide operations & maintenance services for both Tango FLNG and the FSU and engineering services for the project which will be the subject of separate contracts.

Executive chairman Nicolas Saverys said: “We are pleased to work with Eni to help increase their LNG supplies on a fast track basis.”

Tango FLNG's specifications

LNG production capacity: 500,000 tonnes per annum

LNG storage: 16,100 cbm

Storage tanks: Type-C

Draught: 5.4 metres

LOA: 144 metres

Beam: 32 metres

Depth: 20 metres

Liquefaction technology: Black & Veatch Prico SMR

Shipbuilder: Wison Offshore & Marine

Saverys said: “This represents a significant milestone for Exmar in its ambition and proof of our ability to further develop LNG infrastructure solutions.”

Exmar has finally had good news on its assets in 2022 after some difficult years.

The deal on the FLNG unit and LNG carrier follow Exmar's chartering out its barge-based floating storage and regasification unit to Dutch energy company Gasunie after a protracted arbitration with trader Gunvor relating to the FSRU's charter.

Tango FLNG is the the smallest of the world's LNG floaters but it has had a roller-coaster history.

Ordered in 2012 in China, it was originally known as Caribbean FLNG and chartered to Pacific Rubiales Energy (PRE) for a project in Colombia. But PRE filed for Chapter 11 in 2016 and Exmar was forced to take delivery of the unit in 2017 without a charter in place.

In November 2018, Exmar inked a 10-year charter with YPF on the floater based on a tolling agreement relating to LNG production.

The unit was renamed Tango FLNG and shipped on a heavylift vessel to a quayside location in Bahia Blanca, near to Buenos Aires, in February 2019. It started operations three months later.

The unit produced six cargoes from natural gas piped some 750 km onshore from Argentina’s Vaca Muerta shale gas reserves in the Neuquen Basin. But then shifted to Uruguay were it sat idle after YPF opted to terminate the contract.