Norway’s Hoegh LNG Holdings is paying out $184.3m to buy a 10-year-old LNG carrier from Eastern Pacific-controlled Cool Co as it looks to grow its floating storage and regasification unit fleet.

Hoegh said it has agreed with CoolCo to acquire the 160,000-cbm Golar Seal (built 2013).

The company did not reveal its price but said it is “in line” with the current market level for similar vessels.

CoolCo said Hoegh would take on all costs associated with the LNG carrier's upcoming dry-docking, increasing the effective economic value to the company to approximately $190m.

Chief executive Richard Tyrrell said Golar Seal is the oldest vessel in the company's fleet.

“The valuation highlights the re-pricing of the LNG carrier market and strategic value of such LNG infrastructure assets,” Tyrrell said.

The CEO said the sale will release about $94m in cash that will be available in the event the company decides to exercise its option agreement on two “highly sought-after” LNG carrier newbuildings at Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries, which are now scheduled for delivery ahead of contract in the second half of 2024.

Hoegh said it expects to take delivery of Golar Seal in late March or April 2023.

It said the vessel will be subsequently employed in the trading market on a term time charter.

Hoegh LNG president and chief executive Erik Nyheim said: “We are very pleased to make this investment which underpins our growth ambitions.

“The vessel will be an excellent addition to our fleet, and provide flexibility to pursue FSRU conversion opportunities.”

Nyheim told TradeWinds that in selecting Golar Seal the company had a few vessel options to consider but he admitted that there were not that many ships available.

He said the company does not have specific FSRU business or a conversion plan for Golar Seal as yet but is pursuing opportunities for future regas business.

It is Hoegh LNG's intention to put the vessel on time-charter, he said.

In November 2022, Nyheim told this publication that Hoegh LNG believes there is a need for more regasification capacity in Europe and said the company is ready to do LNG carrier-to-FSRU conversions.

He said the company would look at both its own fleet along with other donor vessels. Hoegh currently lists two LNG carriers in its own fleet, in which it is a shareholder.

Nyheim said the organisation would always consider FSRU newbuildings but admitted that it is “challenging” to secure early delivery slots.

Key yards LNG shipbuilders are only offering limited berth space for this sector in 2027, with Qatar’s large slot reservation and other booked space having already soaked up around 60% of capacity for that year.