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What: Shares of Golar LNG Limited (USA) (NASDAQ:GLNG) were up over 27% by mid-afternoon trading on Tuesday. Fueling the surge was news that Ophir Energy had named Golar as its midstream partner for the Fortuna FLNG project in Equatorial Guinea.
So what: Golar is being awarded a 20-year tolling contract for its GoFLNG Gimi vessel, which will begin commercial operations in the first half of 2019. The floating LNG vessel will enable Ophir Energy and its partner to develop the Block R, which is estimated to hold 2.5 trillion cubic feet of natural gas resources. This is the company's second GoFLNG award as its Hilli vessel is expected to commence operations in Cameroon in early 2017.
At full production the vessel will be able to produce 2.2 million metric tonnes per annum, or mtpa, of LNG. The contract, which is structured in much the same way as LNG contracts for facilities along the Gulf of Mexico, is expected to generate very stable earnings for Golar. The company estimates that in its first year of operations it will pull in $350 million of EBITDA from the project, which is a tidy sum for a company that only generated $9 million in EBITDA last year.
Now what: Golar's new approach to developing LNG projects appears to be gaining steam. It noted that it sees significant interest in additional GoFLNG vessels and has already commenced negotiations with a shipyard to discuss building a third vessel. That being said, these are very long lead time projects so today's gains could come and go depending on the market's mood long before these vessels go into service. In other words, investors need to have a very long-term view before chasing this stock.