TotalEnergies has selected up to six LNG carrier newbuildings to take on long-term time charter, but appears to be moving forward with only one of the vessels at this stage.

Market players reported in the past few days that the French energy major had taken six on-order vessels on subjects for its term time charter requirements.

They said two are owned by Japan’s Mitsui OSK Lines, three are under the control of JP Morgan and one belongs to Maran Gas Maritime.

Brokers initially indicated that discussions on the vessels were centring on periods of between five and seven years at rates in the region of $95,000 to $105,000 per day.

There was an expectation that TotalEnergies would lift the subjects on the bulk of the vessels.

But in the past few days, observers of the process said it had let the subjects lapse on all but one vessel controlled by MOL.

TradeWinds has contacted TotalEnergies, which has traditionally said it does not comment on its commercial business, and the shipowners concerned.

Talk on the chartering moves emerged after the French giant launched a tender for up to six LNG carriers to take on time charter.

In June, TradeWinds reported that the company had floated a requirement for vessels to be taken on charter for periods of between three and five years.

Final offers were due in on an extended bid deadline of 23 June.

TotalEnergies was widely perceived as being short on LNG carrier tonnage.

War fallout

It handed one of its existing chartered-in newbuildings back to Russian shipowner Sovcomflot (SCF Group) following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on 24 February.

The 174,100-cbm La Perouse (built 2020) had been fixed on a seven-year charter to TotalEnergies from its delivery at a rate reported to be in the low $60,000s per day.

TotalEnergies had teamed up with Sovcomflot on a further three LNG carrier newbuildings that are on order at Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries in South Korea for delivery dates in 2023 and 2024.

Sanctions against Russia meant the yard could not complete these vessels, as some subcontractors for key parts on the ships are unable to work with and accept payments from Russian companies.

In July, the shipbuilder’s parent company, Korea Shipbuilding & Offshore Engineering, said it had sold three LNG carrier newbuildings that had been cancelled by their owner.

It did not name the buyers, but said one vessel was sold for KRW 314bn ($240m) and a new contract signed on the other two for KRW 628.2bn, equating to about $239m each.

Previously TradeWinds has identified Anna Angelicoussis-led Alpha Gas as the buyer of the trio.

It is unclear whether Alpha will now go on to secure charter business on these resales with TotalEnergies.

Long-term charter rates for LNG carrier newbuildings are running at almost double the figures for spot market levels as charterers look to secure cover in a market in which LNG demand is expected to remain elevated for several years.