Shipowner Flex LNG has kicked off marketing its next two LNG carriers that are set to fall open four years from now in the first half of 2027 at what it sees will be a competitive time for them.

Speaking on a results webcast Flex chief executive Oystein Kalleklev named the ships as the 174,000-cbm Flex Ranger (built 2018) and the 173,400-cbm Flex Constellation (built 2019) which are set to be redelivered in the first and second quarters of 2027 respectively.

Kalleklev described the position of these vessels as “very attractive” because there will be greater volumes of LNG coming to the market at this time and these vessels will be competing against more expensive delivering newbuildings.

Answering analysts’ and investors’ questions, the CEO said Flex’s key priority is to secure some attractive long-term contracts for these two ships.

During the call he also name-checked the company’s 173,400-cbm Flex Courageous (built 2019) and Flex Resolute (built 2020) , which are fixed on charter periods of three firm years plus two optional periods of two years, as “very likely to be extended”. Kalleklev said the company does not expect to see those ships redelivered until 2029.

Flex chief financial officer Knut Traaholt detailed the company’s record cash position of $332m with more coming from vessel refinancings that are being completed.

Asked about investing in newbuildings, Kalleklev described current prices of around $250m per vessel as “quite stiff”.

He said Flex has a strong balance sheet and can “easily” scale up the company.

But he added: “I don’t think it is the time to rush to the yards.”

Kalleklev did not rule out participation in newbuilding tenders but said these would likely need 10 to 15-year contracts

“We are always been open for consolidation,” he added.

Analysing the current and future market, Kalleklev said five-year time-charter rates for modern two-stroke LNG carriers have levelled out at around $135,000 per day.

He estimates the LNG market will grow at a slightly lower rate in 2023 — 4% to reach 416 million tonnes (mt) over the 5% seen in 2022.

But by 2030 he pegs it at 583 mt or higher at 702 mt if planned liquefaction is sanctioned.

Kalleklev flagged up four new LNG projects to watch — NextDecade’s Rio Grande project, Sempra LNG-backed Port Arthur, Venture Global’s CP2 and the Energy Transfer-controlled Lake Charles development — which are expected to be greenlighted shortly.

Between them, the four are expected to add just over 66 million tonnes per annum of LNG which is due to come online between 2025 and 2027.

To spice up its webcast and celebrate Valentine’s Day, Flex offered a fetching navy blue patterned bed linen set emblazoned with its logo — for two people Kalleklev emphasised — for the best question posed.

The CEO gifted the “Flexington” set to investor Wolf Boehme who he said has kept the company supplied with questions for the last two years, even in the middle of night US time and said he hoped this helps him sleep better.