Flex secures charter deals for LNG carrier trio

Norwegian shipping firm Flex LNG, owner of 13 liquefied natural gas carriers, said it has signed charter deals for three of its vessels.

During the last 15 months, the company has secured in total nine fixed hire time charters for its fleet, including the charter for the fifth LNG carrier to US LNG player Cheniere.

Flex has been working to secure fixed hire time charters for Flex Rainbow, Flex Enterprise, and Flex Amber and it has now signed deals for these vessels.

The shipping firm controlled by billionaire John Fredriksen said in a statement on Thursday that the duration of the two new time charters is seven years, and for the third the duration is 10 years.

Flex LNG and the charterer of the 2018-built 173,400-cbm Flex Enterprise and the 2020-built 174,000-cbm Flex Amber, a supermajor, have agreed to replace the existing variable time charters which are due October 2023 and March 2024 with new fixed hire time charters.

Also, the new time charters will start in the third quarter of 2022 with expiry thus in third quarter of 2029.

Additionally, Flex LNG and the charterer of the 2018-built 174,000-cbm Flex Rainbow, a large global trading company, have agreed a new ten-year fixed rate time charter for the vessel.

This charter will start in direct continuation of the existing time charter which expires in January 2023, according to Flex. The new time charter will thus expire in early 2033.

About $750 million of fixed backlog

Øystein Kalleklev, CEO of Flex LNG, said in the statement that altogether these contracts add about $750 million of fixed backlog, reflecting the “strong period market today”.

“Not only are we agreeing long term employment for these three ships, but we are also pleased that we are doing so with the existing charterers which have been repeating customers,” he said.

With these new contracts Flex LNG has “substantially” increased the company’s earnings backlog.

“After these new contracts, our firm minimum backlog is 54 years with another 28 years of possible extension options. The high degree of earnings backlog will further strengthen our ability to continue to pay attractive dividends, making Flex LNG an attractive investment and a place to work at,” Kalleklev said.

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