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Yinson buys two VLCCs for conversion to FPSOs

Malaysian outfit in agreement to purchase very large crude carriers Ridgebury Eagle and Apollonia amid strong demand

Malaysian floating production, storage and offloading vessel owner and operator Yinson Holdings has embarked on a shopping spree for very large crude carriers in anticipation of possible FPSO conversion jobs for which the company is currently bidding.

The company this week reached agreements to buy two VLCCs respectively from Ridgebury Tankers and Neda Maritime Agency.

The Ridgebury Eagle, owned by RidgeBury Tankers, and the Apollonia, owned by Neda Maritime Agency, were both built by South Korea’s Samsung Shipbuilding & Heavy Industries, though RidgeBury Eagle was built in 2002 and Apollonia in 2003. The former is currently sailing under the flag of the Marshall Islands, while the latter with holding capacity of 2.2 million barrels is sailing under the flag of Greece.

The latest acquisitions are spurred by strong demand for FPSOs that oil and gas operators are currently seeking to develop oil and gas fields, especially in Brazil, Asia and Africa.

Last year, Yinson bought the 2002-built VLCC Front Falcon from Ship Financing International for about $30 million. That vessel is offline and currently stacked in Singapore.

Industry sources said the Front Falcon is being offered to Petrobras for conversion into an FPSO for operations at the Marlim field in Brazil. Yinson already has an initial agreement with Chinese yard CIMC Raffles for the conversion work, though compatriot Cosco Shipping Heavy Industry was said by some to have made a last minute effort to win the job.

Cosco is trying to convince Yinson by pointing to its work on the upgrade of the Helang FPSO at its fabrication facilities in Qidong, Jiangsu province.

The Helang floater, which will be delivered next month, will operate under a firm eight-year charter with 10 one-year options, worth $860 million, that was awarded last year by JX Nippon, which is developing Layang in Block SK10.

Also in Brazil, Yinson is bidding against a Bluewater and Saipem consortium for the Parque das Baleias FPSO on which Petrobras is going through the technical qualification process.

In Asia, Petronas is in the final stage of evaluating bids submitted by Malaysia’s Sabah International Petroleum and an MISC/Yinson pairing for an FPSO to tap the Limbayong field.

In Africa, Yinson is facing off against Dutch floater specialist SBM Offshore for Aker Energy's Greater Pecan FPSO off Ghana.

Earlier this year, the company won a $900 million charter for FPSO Allan, which has been renamed Abigail-Joseph, to operate for First Exploration & Production off Nigeria.

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