Evangelos Marinakis-controlled Capital Gas is close to concluding a deal that will see a pair of its remaining five open LNG carrier newbuildings bareboat chartered to West African producer Nigeria LNG (NLNG).

Those following Capital closely said the company has fixed on subjects to NLNG for seven-year periods two 174,000-cbm LNG carrier newbuildings which are scheduled to deliver in mid-2024.

The bareboat rate vessels, which are currently due to be named the Apostolos and Aktoras, is said to be around $100,000 per day which equates to a time-charter equivalent of close to $120,000 per day.

The charters are believed to include optional periods to extend the hire.

Senior officials at Capital Gas refused to comment on the market talk.

NLNG is in the process of trying to renew its 23-ship LNG fleet which it operates under shipping arm Bonny Gas Transport.

The company owns 13 of these vessels comprising seven steam-turbine vessels and six dual-fuel diesel-electric ships, and in 2022 floated three of the 20 and 21-year-old ships for sale while seeking offers on modern tonnage to charter in.

Talk of incoming fresh period charters for Marinakis’ LNG arm come as spot rates for vessels continue their downward trajectory from what have been record highs in the fourth quarter of 2022 on the back of mild winter conditions in Europe and well-stocked inventories.

But in contrast period enquiry and fixtures have remained strong. Brokers peg three-year rates for 174,000-cbm, two-stroke tonnage at close to $170,000 per day.

Capital stacked up a raft of speculatively ordered LNG carrier tonnage which it has been fixing out in what has been a very strong and buoyant period market for LNG carriers in recent months.

In December it emerged that Capital Gas had locked in one of the company’s three 2024-delivering LNG newbuilding to Japanese utility Tokyo Gas Co in a 10-year charter deal at a rate in the mid-$90,000 per day range.

Also in the fourth quarter TradeWinds reported that Capital had secured a three-year charter with QatarEnergy Trading on its 2023-delivering LNG newbuilding, the 174,000-cbm Amore Mio 1. A rate of around $180,000 per day was quoted on the deal. This vessel is due for handover in October this year.

If confirmed later this month the fixtures to NLNG will leave Capital with three unfixed LNG newbuildings.

One, the 174,000-cbm Axios II, is due to be delivered from HD Hyundai in December 2023. Brokers have said it is one of only two open under-construction LNG carrier newbuildings delivering this year.

The remaining as-yet-unnamed pair are scheduled for handover in 2026.

Shipbuilding sources said Capital Gas is sitting on optional LNG carrier berths at HD Hyundai and may extend its fleet position further.

The company has built up a 15-ship LNG fleet with a diverse range of charterers that also include BP, Cheniere Energy and Engie.

The company, which acquired its first secondhand LNG carrier in late 2022, now has seven vessels in operation, with an eighth due to be handed over to charterer Hartree Partners this month.

Capital Gas: LNG carrier fleet

Vessel Capacity (cbm) Delivery Charterer Charter expiry
In operation
Aristos 1 174,000 2020 BP Nov 2027*
Aristidis 1 174,000 2021 BP Jan 2028*
Aristarchos 174,000 2021 Cheniere Mar 2025*
Attalos 174,000 2021 BP Nov 2029*
Adamastos 174,000 2021 Engie Oct-26
Asklipios 174,000 2021 Cheniere Feb-25
Trader II 138,000 2002 PetroChina Unknown
Under construction
Asterix 1 174,000 2023 Hartree 5 years + options expires January 2032
Amore Mio 1 174,000 2023 Qatar Energy Trading 3 years + options
Axios 11 174,000 2023
charter free
Aktoras 174,000 2024 Nigeria LNG on subjects
Assos 174,000 2024 Tokyo Gas 10-year charter + options
Apostolos 174,000 2024 Nigeria LNG on subjects
Not yet assigned 174,000 2026
charter free
Not yet assigned 174,000 2026
charter free
* Including the first two options (total four years per vessel)

Source: Capital Product Partners/Clarksons Shipping Intelligence Network