GOLAR LNG ENERGY LIMITED - FIRST QUARTER 2010 RESULTS

ID: 1015344
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(Thomson Reuters ONE) -


Highlights

·           Golar LNG Energy reports net loss of $10.9 million and operating
income before depreciation and amortisation of $2.0 million
·           Spot trading vessels results very weak with outlook for Q2 similar
·           Golar Energy announces the establishment of a new venture to embark
on managing and trading LNG cargoes
·           Termination of various agreements in respect of Gladstone LNG
Fisherman's Landing project
·           Floating regasification project development continued high level of
activity

Financial Review

Golar LNG Energy Limited ("Golar Energy" or the "Company") reports net loss of
$10.9 million and operating income before depreciation and amortisation of $2.0
million for the quarter to March 31, 2010 (the "first quarter").

Revenues in the first quarter of 2010 (the "first quarter") were $14.5 million
as compared to $22.6 million for the fourth quarter of 2009 (the "fourth
quarter"). The decrease is due to a very weak market for vessels operating in
the spot market. As a result utilisation for the first quarter was down at 50%
compared to 90% for the fourth quarter and first quarter average daily time
charter equivalents ("TCEs") decreased to $16,795 compared to fourth quarter TCE
of $36,480.

Voyage expenses, principally fuel costs whilst the vessels are not on time
charter, were $5.4 million for the first quarter and operating expenses were
$5.9 million as compared to $3.0 million and $6.8 million respectively for the
fourth quarter. Administrative expenses were $1.2 million in the first quarter
compared to $4.7 million in the fourth quarter mainly due to lower project
development costs in respect of liquefaction projects.

Net interest expense was $3.7 million for the first quarter as compared to $4.0


million in the fourth quarter.
Other financial items was an expense of $0.4 million as compared to a gain of
$0.7 million in the fourth quarter. This is as a result of interest rate swap
valuation losses in the first quarter as compared to gains in the fourth
quarter.

The net gain on sale of investee of $0.8 million represents the sale of 2.1
million LNG Limited shares for a total consideration of $1.3 million.

Financing, corporate and other matters

The Company has recently announced that it is to establish a new subsidiary, to
be named Golar Commodities, which will position the Company in the market for
managing and trading LNG cargoes. Activities will include structured services to
outside customers (such as risk management services), arbitrage activities as
well as proprietary trading. In order to manage the business, the Company has
recruited a group of 5 individuals with extensive experience in LNG and
commodities trading. The Company will make a significant equity investment in
its new subsidiary, which will be drawn from its cash reserves. The new
subsidiary will be further supported by credit lines from commercial banks. It
is expected that this new business area will be fully operational from September
2010.

The Company's management company, Golar Management Ltd, and the present
technical sub-manager for all of the Company's vessels, Wilhelmsen Ship
Management (Norway) AS, are in the process setting up a joint venture company,
Golar Wilhelmsen Management AS. ("Golarwil") that will be a specialised
technical manager of LNG vessels. It is the intention that all the Company's LNG
vessels will be managed by Golarwil. The new structure benefits from the
economies of scale of bringing the fleet together under one manager. In addition
it provides the Company with more day-to-day involvement which is important
particularly with FSRU vessels and other non standard LNG carriers and at the
same time provides the benefits of the resources of a large ship management
organisation. The actual management transfer of the LNG vessels will take place
from late July and throughout August 2010.

During the quarter the Company sold 2.1 million LNG Limited shares for
approximately $1.3 million. Subsequent to the quarter end Company sold a further
2.8 million shares for approximately $1.4 million. The transactions reduce the
Company's shareholding in LNG Limited to approximately 4% of LNG Limited's
issued share capital.

Subsequent to the quarter end the Company issued 165,000 share options to
employees at a strike price of $2.20. The options vest over a period of two
years and three months. Total Company options outstanding after this issue are
4,105,000.

Operational Review

Shipping

Overall spot trade in 2010 began in similar fashion to 2008 and 2009 -
struggling to absorb a large number of new buildings in a climate of weak demand
and a lack of FOB spot cargoes.  Winter demand 2009/2010 fell away in mid
January and no consistent spot opportunities were available after that point.
Very little chartering activity has reached the open market and the most visible
spot/short term opportunities from supply projects this year have come from
Trinidad, Abu Dhabi, N.W. Shelf and Nigeria LNG.  Statoil's fixing of the
Gemmata for up to 3 years and Gazprom taking a Dynacom ice-class vessel for 2
years have also occurred as well as a re-exports out of Sabine Pass and
Zeebrugge.

There were a number of factors affecting spot market activity but the effect of
a continuing excess of tonnage together with a lack of spot product and the
effect of term buyers exercising downward contract quantity ("DCQ") adjustments
has caused a severe drop in spot activity and charter rates.  Spot charter rates
have also been adversely impacted by worldwide falling spot gas prices which may
further soften as we move into the summer period.  Current spot charter rates
are in the region of $30,000 per day, however, achieving a reasonable level of
utilisation in the current weak market is extremely challenging. Additionally,
high fuel oil bunker costs make it difficult to strategically position spot
market ships to take advantage of occasional FOB cargo sales.

Plant outages have also had an impact although tentative demand recovery in the
Far East markets coupled with (as mentioned above) Far East buyers already
having exercised DCQ adjustments in long-term contracts may increase the
potential for spot cargoes. The additional LNG capacity coming on stream in the
second half of 2010 should also help to improve the ship market balance. Other
recent indications of a possible improvement in the shipping market with Statoil
taking a vessel on a 3 year hire from June of this year and Total reportedly
close to fixing a spot vessel on a 2 year assignment to cover project structural
requirements remain pointers to a recovery.  These and a current Chinese
Petroleum Corporation shipping requirement may well be early indications of an
increase in spot cargo prospects but as yet it is too soon to say if this will
provide any sustained improvement in market activity in the short-term.

The current fleet now stands at 348 including lay-ups and regasification
vessels. New vessels on order amount to 35 including regasification and Floating
LNG vessels.

Regasification

Credible progress continues in the development of new floating storage and
regasification projects.  Project details are becoming clearer and more certain
with more credible interested parties. In addition to the very strong Asia
demand and solid inquiry from the Americas, new market interest has occurred in
the Middle East and Africa.  In addition to new inquiries, those projects being
developed on a tender basis are largely keeping to schedule.  As an update to
public market activity:

·         Indonesia (West Java):  Golar Energy qualified in addition to four
other parties for Pertamina and PT Perusahaan Gas Negara (Persero) Tbk ("PGN")
joint venture's tender.  Golar Energy is preparing its bid submission with a
contract award targeted for 3Q2010.
·         Indonesia (Sumatra): The ~1-2 MTA/year floating storage and
regasification terminal remains targeted for a 2012 start-up in North Sumatra.
PGN is finalizing the selection of a Project Manager ("PMC").  The
Pre-Qualification and Tender is expected to occur in 2H2010.
·         Jamaica: Golar Energy submitted a proposal of interest in response to
the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica's request for proposals. PCJ's formal
decision on its tender is outstanding.
·         Israel:   Golar Energy was selected along with a small field of
qualifiers to participate in the tender for an offshore LNG receiving terminal,
targeted for a 2H2013 start-up.  The tender is reportedly expected to be
launched in 4Q2010.
* Uruguay:  Foster Wheeler Iberia, the project's appointed PMC, continues to
develop the tender scope with a tender expected to be issued at the end of
the 3(rd) quarter of 2010 for first gas in 2013.

· Argentina: Repsol and Enarsa have issued a tender for their Puerto Escobar
project which is targeting first gas by June 2011. Enarsa are also developing a
replacement project for Bahia Blanca.

In addition to the above public market activity, significant development
activity continues on a direct basis. In total, Golar FSRU developers are
engaged in or monitoring FSRU opportunities in over 25 countries with some
countries offering multiple opportunities. In addition to the increasing number
of interested parties, the types of inquiries have become more diverse: FSRUs
for benign and harsh environment; site locations near shore and offshore;
project specified mooring solutions and vaporisation technology; and project
volume scale further broadening to consider smaller LNG import volumes and
therefore, leaner solutions.

Whilst development activity will take time, the Company remains patient but
pro-active in pursing the next Golar FSRU. However, the diversity of
opportunities noted above is to some extent encouraging as Golar Energy's
approach is based on developing fit for purpose solutions.  Each of Golar's
three projects to date was based on three distinctly different FSRU designs. The
Company believes this approach of converting an LNGC to an FSRU based on a
specific client's requirements as offering customers the best value proposition
in terms of speed of project implementation and overall project cost.

Liquefaction
During the quarter Golar Energy announced the termination of the various
agreements relating to the Gladstone LNG Project as a result of a conditional
takeover proposal of Arrow Energy ("Arrow") (gas supplier to the Gladstone LNG
Project) by Royal Dutch Shell and PetroChina. The agreements terminated were
Golar Energy's shipping and marketing Heads of Agreement ("HoA") with Arrow, the
HoA with Toyota Tsusho Corporation in respect of the LNG supply and the original
HoA with LNG Limited for the offtake of LNG from the Gladstone LNG Project.

Golar Energy remains of the view that the Gladstone LNG Project site at
Fisherman's Landing, the mid-scale nature of the LNG plant and all the work
undertaken to date, renders the Gladstone LNG Project with the potential to be
developed and commercialised, in a much shorter time frame and at a lower cost
per produced tonne of LNG than other, much larger, LNG projects proposed by
others in the Port of Gladstone. LNG Limited is in a position to attract
interest from other parties in the region with respect to gas supply and the
development of the Gladstone LNG Project as an alternative to Arrow.

Under the terms of the June 2006 Collaboration Agreement, between the LNG
Limited and Golar Energy, which remains in place, Golar Energy will continue to
take an interest in the alternative development options for the Gladstone LNG
Project in order to try to achieve a positive outcome for shareholders.

Golar Energy will continue to actively pursue floating liquefaction ("FLNG")
projects and other floating LNG solutions which fit with its financial
objectives and best capture its technical capabilities. Golar Energy's FLNG
strategy will be expanded to include the development of low capital cost, rapid
deployment floating production facilities utilising the conversion of high
quality existing LNG carriers, floating technologies for the liquefaction of
pipeline quality gas or associated gas (requiring minimal processing) and
seeking other innovative LNG solutions. This strategy complements Golar Energy's
industry leadership position in floating LNG regasification facilities
development.

Market

Spot market shipping demand fell away quicker than would normally be the case
given the length and severity of the winter, resulting in reduced opportunities
for Golar Energy ships trading on the spot market.  Current indications are that
this lack of short term activity will continue well into the year with only
occasional cargoes becoming available in both Atlantic and Pacific basins.  The
market is therefore typified by a number of vessels competing for the same
cargoes over short hire periods at depressed charter rates.

By the end of January we saw the first hints of a slowdown in flows to N.W.
Europe with a re-export cargo from Zeebrugge to ease LNG storage constraints
making its way to Mexico.  Supply, meanwhile, continues to build.  In Qatar,
Rasgas Train 7 was commissioned, Yemen continued its ramp-up and Tangguh
continued to send cargoes to Sempra's Costa Azul terminal.  Qatargas-3 Train 6
is slated to begin operations mid-year and Qatargas-4 Train 7 is scheduled for
completion in September 2010.

Once viewed as a lucrative market for imported LNG, the US Northeast and
Mid-Atlantic regions now have emerging sources of domestic gas supply in the
form of shale gas, which has exerted pressure on imported LNG volumes.

The large increase in LNG production combined with the extensive construction of
import terminals around the world provides the basis for a more logistical
approach to the LNG market. This trend is further enhanced by low shipping
rates, the seasonality of the market and the global price differentials between
the Asian, European and American gas markets.

The changing developments in the trading pattern for LNG provides an interesting
opportunity for LNG shipping as well as Golar Energy's LNG new trading venture.
The continuing separation of oil and gas prices further enhances this as it
provides the opportunity to reduce the energy costs to end users by substituting
oil products with flexible delivery of LNG.

Outlook

An over-supply of LNG has developed as the LNG industry has suffered from
the global recession and the successful development of shale gas in the US.
However, given its environmental benefits over other hydro-carbon fuels and its
cost competiveness, particularly against oil, it is highly likely that LNG
demand will continue to grow. The strong gas demand coming out of China and
other new emerging markets further supports this case. On the supply side the
development of unconventional gas supplies such coal bed methane in Queensland
Australia provides increased LNG supply growth potential.

Nevertheless, the short-term weakness in the LNG commodity market has negatively
impacted shipping.  By end of 2010 there is a significant decline in the rate of
growth of the fleet. The Company believes that the shipping market will begin to
tighten over the next twelve to eighteen months although in the near term the
market will likely remain weak.

There are clear similarities between the more flexible structure of the LNG
market which is now emerging and the opening of the crude oil market in the
1970's. There is increased activity by traders and spot cargoes are still at a
limited level. The Board therefore believes that this is a good time to be
building a position in this market area and as such is extremely pleased with
the setting up of Golar Energy's new LNG trading venture.

The floating regasification market outlook continues to be positive and the
Company believes that there will be a few new FSRU contracts awarded during
2010. The Company believes that it is in a good position to secure contracts
based on its previous experience in this market.

The Company will selectively continue to pursue small scale opportunities within
the FLNG market. The Company also believes that further worldwide opportunities
exist in solutions which integrate power production and regasification
projects.

Operating results for the second quarter of 2010 are highly likely to be
significantly negatively impacted by continued very weak results from the
Company's vessels operating in the spot market. There are however good reasons
for expecting a much needed improvement in shipping rates in the medium to
long-term. The Company is also optimistic about the potential for its new LNG
logistic venture, Golar Commodities. The Board is not pleased with the
development in the Company's share price after the IPO last August but is
hopeful that the recent corporate actions and a better supply demand balance in
the LNG shipping market can strengthen the investment case.



Forward Looking Statements

This press release contains forward looking statements. These statements are
based upon various assumptions, many of which are based, in turn, upon further
assumptions, including examination of historical operating trends made by the
management of Golar LNG Energy. Although Golar LNG Energy believes that these
assumptions were reasonable when made, because assumptions are inherently
subject to significant uncertainties and contingencies, which are difficult or
impossible to predict and are beyond its control, Golar LNG Energy cannot give
assurance that it will achieve or accomplish these expectations, beliefs or
intentions.
Included among the factors that, in the Company's view, could cause actual
results to differ materially from the forward looking statements contained in
this press release are the following: inability of the Company to obtain
financing for the new building vessels at all or on favourable terms; changes in
demand; a material decline or prolonged weakness in rates for LNG carriers;
political events affecting production in areas in which natural gas is produced
and demand for natural gas in areas to which our vessels deliver; changes in
demand for natural gas generally or in particular regions; changes in the
financial stability of our major customers; adoption of new rules and
regulations applicable to LNG carriers and FSRU's; actions taken by regulatory
authorities that may prohibit the access of LNG carriers or FSRU's to various
ports; our inability to achieve successful utilisation of our expanded fleet and
inability to expand beyond the carriage of LNG; increases in costs including:
crew wages, insurance, provisions, repairs and maintenance; changes in general
domestic and international political conditions; the current turmoil in the
global financial markets and deterioration thereof; changes in applicable
maintenance or regulatory standards that could affect our anticipated
dry-docking or maintenance and repair costs; our ability to timely complete our
FSRU conversions; failure of shipyards to comply with delivery schedules on a
timely basis and other factors listed from time to time in subsequent
announcements and reports. Nothing contained in this press release shall
constitute an offer of any securities for sale.

May 26, 2010
The Board of Directors
Golar LNG Energy Limited
Hamilton, Bermuda
Questions should be directed to:

Golar Energy Management Ltd
Oscar Spieler: CEO - +65 6296 5518
Golar Management Ltd - +44 207 063 7900:
Graham Robjohns: CFO
This information is subject of the disclosure requirements acc. to §5-12 vphl
(Norwegian Securities Trading Act)


[HUG#1419122]





Golar LNG Energy Q1 2010 Results: http://hugin.info/142200/R/1419122/369282.pdf






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Date: 05/27/2010 - 02:42
Language: English
News-ID 1015344
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