Sovcomflot adds two LNG newbuildings after netting TotalEnergies charters


French energy major declares options it was holding with Russian shipowner

Russian shipowner Sovcomflot (SCF Group) has firmed up long-term charter deal options on two LNG carrier newbuildings with its existing shipping partner TotalEnergies.

Sovcomflot said the 174,000-cbm vessels will be chartered to the French energy major for a period of up to seven years.

The ships will operate under the TotalEnergies global LNG trading programme, with Sovcomflot responsible for their technical management.

The charters were an option TotalEnergies was holding under a deal it signed with Sovcomflot in January for a single LNG newbuilding. This vessel, priced at around $181m, is due for delivery from Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries in the third quarter of 2023 and fixed on similar terms.

Tender triumph

Under this deal the major had the choice to declare one or both vessels.

No price or charter rate details were given for the latest two LNG newbuildings.

The Russian owner secured the initial charter on the single vessel after a tender for LNG carrier newbuildings run by TotalEnergies, then operating as Total.

Sovcomflot said the LNG carrier newbuildings will be fitted with slow-speed X-DF engines, hull air-lubrication systems, and two shaft generators with electronic frequency converters to provide significant fuel savings.

The vessels will also be kitted out with re-liquefaction systems to minimise the use of their gas combustion units and reduce their emissions footprint.

Industrial business

Sovcomflot president and chief executive Igor Tonkovidov said: “These new LNG carriers will meet the current and expected international and regional environmental legislation as well as charterer's requirements for energy efficiency, operational and navigational safety.

Tonkovidov added: “Further growth of the fixed-income portfolio from vessel operations with blue-chip charterers lies at the very heart of SCF’s business model and remains consistent with the group strategy as it continues to rebalance its fleet towards industrial business."

Sovcomflot already has one LNG carrier operating under a long-term Total charter.

The 174,000-cbm SCF La Perouse (built 2020) is fixed on a seven-year charter to Total at a rate reported to be in the low $60,000s per day.

The major has picked off other LNG newbuildings from shipowners including Maran Gas Maritime and Minerva Marine.