Singapore's Ezra Holdings Limited announced that its Oslo mainboard-listed associate EOC Limited is on schedule to take delivery of its first floating, production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel.
The converted 127,540 deadweight tonne Lewek Arunothai further enhances the Group's fleet capability and has already landed EOC a US$400 million charter contract – its largest to date in value terms. The vessel, contracted to a Southeast Asian oil company, will operate in one of the largest natural gas fields in the Gulf of Thailand.
"This three-year contract with an extension option for two years is expected to add positively to our bottomline from FY09," said Managing Director, Lionel Lee. "This once again demonstrates the confidence of oil majors in Ezra's capability to provide reliable and high-quality offshore support services for oilfield development and production work.
"The Lewek Arunothai will be one of the largest gas FPSOs operating in the world and extends the Group's capability to tap the strong demand from a wider spectrum of the offshore O&G services sector," Lee continued. "As record-high oil and natural gas prices galvanize efforts to explore for and develop more reserves around the globe, we expect the FPSO market to stay buoyant and provide another wave of growth for the company."
Originally an Aframax tanker before its conversion at Keppel Shipyard, the Lewek Arunothai, can export 175 million standard cubic feet of natural gas daily, ranking it amongst the largest gas FPSOs operating in the world.
FPSOs have the advantage of being able to commercially exploit smaller, marginal fields, which are abundant in South-east Asia's oil and gas producing areas. With oil and gas prices at all-time highs and expected to rise even further, these fields will become increasingly viable to develop. The vessels are also commonly used in deepwater fields, where traditional fixed production platforms face constraints in terms of deployability.
"We will continue to offer good value to our customers by maintaining a young, technologically advanced fleet capable of handling deepwater exploration and production work," Lee added. "As more fields move into the production phase, we expect our Production & Construction division under EOC to accelerate Ezra's growth over the medium term."
Ezra has been steadily increasing and fine-tuning its fleet to meet the arduous demands of the offshore oil and gas sector. The Group, among Asia's first to strategically focus on deepwater offshore support work, currently manages 32 vessels and has 9 more scheduled to come into service by 2010. In April, Ezra reported a set of sterling results for 1H FY08 where its net attributable profit jumped 8-fold to S$207.4 million while turnover doubled to S$136.7 million. It also paid out a special, tax-exempt interim dividend of 5 cents per ordinary share.
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