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Edited Transcript of GLNG earnings conference call or presentation 27-Feb-19 3:00pm GMT

Q4 2018 Golar LNG Ltd Earnings Call

Hamilton Mar 15, 2019 (Thomson StreetEvents) -- Edited Transcript of Golar LNG Ltd earnings conference call or presentation Wednesday, February 27, 2019 at 3:00:00pm GMT

TEXT version of Transcript

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Corporate Participants

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* Graham Robjohns

Golar LNG Limited - Deputy CEO & CFO of Golar Management Ltd.

* Iain Ross

Golar LNG Limited - CEO of Golar Management Ltd

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Conference Call Participants

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* Christian F. Wetherbee

Citigroup Inc, Research Division - VP

* Christopher M. Snyder

Deutsche Bank AG, Research Division - Research Associate

* Craig Kenneth Shere

Tuohy Brothers Investment Research, Inc. - Director of Research

* Donald Delray McLee

Joh. Berenberg, Gossler & Co. KG, Research Division - Analyst

* Eirik Haavaldsen

Pareto Securities, Research Division - Head of Research

* Espen Landmark Fjermestad

Fearnley Securities AS, Research Division - Equity Analyst

* Fotis Giannakoulis

Morgan Stanley, Research Division - VP, Research

* Frode Morkedal

Clarksons Platou Securities AS, Research Division - MD

* Jason Daniel Gabelman

Cowen and Company, LLC, Research Division - VP

* Jonathan B. Chappell

Evercore ISI Institutional Equities, Research Division - Senior MD

* Magnus Sven Fyhr

Seaport Global Securities LLC, Research Division - MD & Senior Shipping Analyst

* Michael Webber

Wells Fargo Securities, LLC, Research Division - Director & Senior Equity Analyst

* Randall Giveans

Jefferies LLC, Research Division - Equity Analyst

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Presentation

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Operator [1]

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Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for standing by, and welcome to the Golar LNG Limited Fourth Quarter 2018 Results Presentation. (Operator Instructions) I must advise you, this conference is being recorded today, Wednesday, the 27th of February 2019.

I would now like to hand the conference over to your first speaker today, Iain Ross. Thank you, and please go ahead, sir.

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Iain Ross, Golar LNG Limited - CEO of Golar Management Ltd [2]

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Thank you. Good afternoon. Good morning. Welcome to the Golar LNG Fourth Quarter 2018 Results Call. Today I'm joined by Graham Robjohns, CFO; and Stuart Buchanan, Head of Investor Relations.

I'm pleased to report on the back of improved operating revenue, our quarterly adjusted EBITDA increased to $121.7 million in the fourth quarter, up from $83.5 million in Q3. And accordingly, full year 2018 adjusted EBITDA increased to $218.1 million from -- up from a loss of $24 million in 2017. The board has declared a dividend of $0.15 per share.

Now while the fourth quarter was clearly buoyed by a strong shipping quarter, the carrier market clearly remains volatile for the time being. I'm going to share our thoughts on that, in addition to some more color on yesterday's BP announcement after Graham takes us through the numbers.

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Graham Robjohns, Golar LNG Limited - Deputy CEO & CFO of Golar Management Ltd. [3]

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Thank you, Iain, and good day to everybody. I'll start with financial highlights on Slide 3, and starting with our income statement. We are very pleased to report, as Iain has already alluded to, an extremely strong net operating revenues quarter with increased revenues from $98.3 million in Q3 to $141.8 million in Q4. This is -- of course, has been driven by significantly improved earnings from the shipping fleet, which recorded average time charter equivalent rates of $77,600 per day for Q4 with spot tri-fuel diesel electric vessels earning $97,300 per day.

Other line items down to adjusted EBITDA were generally in line with Q3, except for other operating gains and losses, which reported a reduced Q4 gain of $13.4 million, representing a further but lower cash recovery as a result of proceedings in respect to a former contract for the Golar Tundra. Adjusted EBITDA was, therefore, increased from $83.5 million to $121.2 million.

After a couple of quarters of gains as oil prices rose, the fair market value of the Hilli Episeyo oil-linked contract derivative asset, i.e., the value of the potential future cash flow from the oil-linked hire component in the Hilli contract, decreased by $196 million during the quarter, with a corresponding unrealized loss of the same amount recognized in the income statement. The fair value decrease was driven by a significant downward movement in the expected future market price for Brent oil. Spot price decreased from $82.72 per barrel on September 30 to $50.57 per barrel at December 31. Although, of course, this has since recovered to around $66 per barrel today.

Despite the loss in Q4, the derivative contract still had a positive recorded value on the balance sheet of $84.7 million as at December 31. I would stress, though, that this is a noncash fair value movement only. And as long as revenues are above $60 a barrel, we continue to receive cash revenue under the Hilli contract for the Brent-linked element.

The other large noncash, again, impact on our net income this quarter is $154 million Q4 equity and net losses of affiliates, which is primarily driven by a $149 million impairment of the carrying value of Golar's interest in Golar Partners. Golar Partners' unit price as at December 31 was $10.80, whereas the unit price at IPO was $22.50. The impairment is based on the year-end unit price of $10.80. And given the time that the partnership's unit price has traded below its carrying value, the reduction is now considered other than temporary. The stock price has, of course, since recovered to $13.78 as at last night's close, but not yet to the levels at IPO. Primarily as a result of these 2 noncash valuation movements totaling $344 million, the company recorded a net loss of $313 million for the quarter.

Moving over to Slide 4 and the balance sheet. Golar's total current cash position as at September 30 was $704 million, including long-term restricted cash and cash related to VIEs. Of this, $218 million was unrestricted, and $175 million relates to Hilli Episeyo Letter of Credit. Of that $175 million cash securing the Hilli's Letter of Credit, approximately $110 million is expected to be released to free cash between May of this year and at May 2021.

Cash outflows during Q4 included $25 million investment in Avenir, $29 million paid in respect to final sums due for the Hilli Episeyo construction, $18.6 million paid to Keppel in respect of the initial payments with regard to the conversion of FLNG Gimi and some collateral payments in connection with our margin loan and equity swap.

Golar's contractual net debt, which is after adjusting for our consolidated variable interest entities, including 100% of Hilli's $910 million debt as at December 31, was $2.1 billion or $1.65 billion if you exclude GMLP's share of Hilli's debt. As we discussed in the earnings release, we're also in the final stages of getting credit commitments on a $700 million facility for our new project, FLNG Gimi.

Turning over to Slide 5. As the LNG shipping market recovers from its prolonged down cycle that ended in the latter part of 2018 and our new project startup, Hilli, of course, in May of 2018 and Sergipe next year, our EBITDA is starting to build. This slide shows full year further adjusted EBITDA for 2018, which removes GMLP's share of Hilli's EBITDA and is adjusted for nonrecurring items of $200 million for 2018. EBITDA was -- from shipping was, of course, fairly weak during the course of the first 3 quarters of 2018. So if we then take Q4 annualized EBITDA, this rises to $346 million. Commencement at Sergipe in 2020 and now also Gimi in 2022 will, of course, add significantly to our future cash flows, building on our existing EBITDA.

And with that, I'll hand back to Iain to carry on with the presentation.

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Iain Ross, Golar LNG Limited - CEO of Golar Management Ltd [4]

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Thanks, Graham. So starting with shipping, Slide 6, it's certainly been an interesting few months in the shipping side of things. So on the LNG import side, we saw Chinese and Korean 2018 demand increase by 41% and 18%, respectively. China entered the buying market earlier in 2018. And with a milder winter, the sector experienced a slower-than-anticipated inventory drawdown, which resulted in a higher-than-normal number of cargoes at sea and a rapid tightening of available ships. And the clear effect of this was to drive LNG carrier rates to all-time high levels in November with short-term effective spot rates for TFDE vessels, including positioning and ballast fees briefly reported to be around up to $200,000 per day. Rates for steam vessels also reached their highest level in 5 years.

So following drawdown of the LNG tanks through December, the laden vessels discharged their cargoes. And despite record December LNG imports into Northeast Asia, the combination of falling Brent prices, strong European gas prices and milder weather prevented the Asian arbitrage window from opening. Multiple vessels became then available for spot fixtures, and the resulting TFDE and spot prices decreased by the end of the quarter to about $100,000 and $85,000 a day, respectively. Rates then continued to soften into the first quarter 2019, where the spot market is currently fetching headline TFDE rates of somewhere around $50,000 a day.

So notwithstanding the volatility of the last few months, our view of the shipping market remains bullish. The thesis of structural shortage over the next couple of years is unchanged. And we believe what has happened over the last quarter was driven more by the unusual number of laden vessels not being able to discharge rather than an earlier-than-envisaged structural tightening of the market. And with only around 39 vessels planned for delivery in 2019, matching up with approximately 35 million tons per annum of new LNG scheduled to come online in the year, that requires sort of a conservative average of 1.4 to 1.5 ships per million tons. And therefore, leading brokers are forecasting at least a 10-vessel shortfall by the end of 2019. And considering the same dynamics, this is forecast to increase to a shortage of more than 20 ships by the end of 2020.

As previously mentioned, we continue to look at the establishment of a joint structure with other shipowners that allows LNG shipping investors more direct exposure to the LNG shipping market. We have made significant progress with this initiative, including agreement with banks and lessors to secure approximately $1.1 billion in financing for the 9 vessels Golar is considering contributing to this new company. And should we complete the potential separation of spin-off of the LNG shipping fleet, it's expected to significantly reduce the volatility in our earnings and better position the long-term contracting business for infrastructure investors. Under this type of structure, it should also be noted that whilst Golar plans to contribute its TFDE vessels, the technical management of all of our ships will remain with Golar.

Turning now to FLNG on Slide 7. Hilli Episeyo, which completed its first scheduled maintenance window during the quarter without any issue and ahead of schedule, it continues to operate with 100% commercial availability. The vessel is currently in the process of exporting its 16th LNG cargo, which is nicely being picked up by the Golar Nanook on its way to Sergipe for commissioning of the power station.

In terms of Hilli train 3, Perenco and SNH have confirmed that the contracted option for the third train may be exercised during the fourth quarter 2019. You may recall under our LTA a 30-day notice period is required to be -- is only required to be given to increase the base throughput and, therefore, we expect this to be increased to 1.8 million tons a year before the end of 2019. And on train 4, we are in active discussions with Perenco to develop the right gas supply solution, and we expect these discussions to be completed before the end of the year.

Yesterday, we announced that Golar has entered into an agreement with BP for the charter of an FLNG unit, Gimi, for a 20-year period expected to commence in the second half of 2022. Gimi is already at Keppel Shipyard, where a site team has been assembled. Keppel Capital will be a 30% shareholder in the project. With a conversion cost of approximately $1.3 billion, annual contracted revenues, less forecasted operating costs of approximately $250 million are expected, equivalent to a total contract earnings backlog of $4.4 billion. Of the $4.4 billion, Golar's expected share is $3.1 billion.

So Graham mentioned initial long-term financing of $700 million when supplemented with other financing facilities. And taking into account the financing cost during construction, all of that should mean that we'll have total equity contribution from the company of around $300 million in respect of our 70% stake in the project.

Just on the project, turning to Slide 8, a couple more comments. The Tortue project will produce gas from an ultradeep water subsea system in 2,850 meters of water, located 120 kilometers from the coast of Mauritania and Senegal. The gas will be transferred around 80 kilometers through a flow line to a mid-water FPSO, which will process the gas and strip out the liquids. The gas will then be transferred to the Golar Gimi FLNG facility at an innovative nearshore hub, which will provide shelter and benign [metals] and conditions for the vessel.

A simple way to evaluate this project is to compare it with Hilli, and we've attempted that on Slide 9. We believe that Gimi's a strong project. And on all the metrics we've noted on Slide 9, we believe Gimi is at least as good or better than Hilli on all terms. One point I'd like to emphasize is the following. With Hilli, we had a prototype. It was a novel design using innovative conversion techniques to marinize proven liquefaction technology. The bigger risks were around the complexity of bringing together marine systems and large, complex power generation needs, together with more traditional onshore gas processes and essentially creating an offshore version of that. Once construction in Singapore was safely achieved, we then needed a capable team to build the transport startup and run the vessel.

With Hilli proving itself well and our people becoming more and more familiar with the asset, we find that the move to Gimi is a stepping stone rather than a massive leap. Gimi is essentially a copy of Hilli with the incorporations of lessons learned along the way. Much of the Gimi crew will be able to gain experience from Hilli, and we have retained a lot of yard experience to ensure the learning is captured. And by means of example, I was in Singapore yesterday at a shipyard meeting with the key Gimi project technical leadership from Golar, Keppel and Black & Veatch. There were around 50 people in the room. And I asked for a show of hands, who had worked on Hilli? And was pleasantly surprised to see about 90% of the team had their hands in the air.

Importantly, Golar will also play its part in training and developing Mauritanian and Senegalese nationals for various positions on the project, as we have successfully done with Cameroon nationals for Hilli. So my point is that Gimi is not a prototype. It's been done before, and we have the people to implement the project, who will bring their recent and extremely relevant experience. And for me, this significantly derisks the project execution.

Now turning to Slide 10 and touching on some other FLNG opportunities. On a couple of specific projects, progress has also been made on the development of Delfin in the Gulf of Mexico, and work continues to establish the right gas supply and offtake combination to enable financing and yard commitment potentially before the end of 2019. And secondly, we, of course, note that Ophir Energy's production license with the government of Equatorial Guinea has not been extended. Golar remains engaged with the relevant authorities and other potential operators in the event that the production license is awarded to an operator interested in pursuing Fortuna FLNG as a development solution.

Now taking a look at the bubble chart, you can see that the projects have moved and lined a little bit since we last issued this. There are two notable changes. The first is that with Hilli production continuing to perform well and with BP announcing FID, we're having a real ramp-up of interest in our FLNG capability. And the second thing is that the majority of project opportunities, they have moved to be currently weighted towards tolling-type projects rather than fully integrated developments. These projects -- at least -- sorry, these points are interlinked, and that some of the new opportunities in the chart are being considered to solve current gas supply issues rather than monetizing marginal stranded gas fuels, which, by definition, results in a tolling-type arrangement.

I would point out that we still have an ambition to participate in the molecules. There are several tolling opportunities that are maturing fairly quickly right now, so it's just a matter of prioritization. Where a floating facility is appropriate, we believe that Golar's FLNG solutions remain substantially cheaper and faster to market than alternatives.

Turning to Golar Power, Slide 11. Construction of the Sergipe power plant remains on schedule with no significant issues to impede the commencement of operations in January 2020. Soft yoke mooring base for the FSRU is in position, and powers are currently being installed. Both water and gas pipelines are now installed, and we remain on track for first commissioning fire of the power station around about the end of quarter 2.

Just reinforcing. Golar's 2020 share of combined Sergipe and Nanook annual contracted revenues less the forecasted operating expenses is around $100 million per year, and that reduces to approximately $45 million after deduction of debt service costs. This income stream is just around the corner in January 2020.

As I mentioned, the FSRU Golar Nanook is currently loading Hilli's 16th cargo, which we'll use for commissioning. Golar Power is also advancing discussions with a view to using some of their available spare capacity in Nanook to support local LNG fueled opportunities. This market is still immature, but it's showing really strong signs of interest in both the LNG trucking and diesel to distributed LNG local power generation.

Further FSRU and associated downstream infrastructure opportunities are being pursued in Brazil. License approvals for projects are making good progress, including the recently gazetted Barcarena site approval. These licenses put Golar Power in a strong position to develop FSRU terminal projects to win future power options and, of course, to distribute LNG locally. And the establishment of Avenir into the fourth quarter will further enhance our ability to move around smaller parcels of LNG and benefit from this market.

Turning to other FSRU business. The redeployment of Golar Freeze to Jamaica and the potential development -- or deployment, rather, of a converted Golar Viking to LNG Croatia are evidence of good utilization of older, smaller steam vessels. In Croatia, Golar has agreed to convert the 2005-built Golar Viking into an FSRU and sell the converted vessel, and then operate and maintain the FSRU for a minimum of 10 years. Importantly, conversion CapEx will be funded by staged payments under the agreement. Project FID is subject to certain conditions precedent, including confirmation of project funding and receipt of a notice to proceed from LNG Hrvatska.

And finally, on the back of the Sergipe project nearing completion, Golar Power has initiated a review of the strategic alternatives that are available for the business. Whilst at an early stage, this will involve the development of a growth plan, which will include the financing considerations necessary to deliver that growth. We note that under the original agreement, our joint venture partner has the right to trigger an IPO of Golar Power. And whilst no decision has been taken in this regard, we believe that significant value, which has been built up over the last 4 years and in full compliance with ISC and World Bank environmental, social and governance standards, could position Golar Power well with ESG-focused investors.

So turning to Slide 12. And in summary, Golar enters 2019 in a substantially stronger position than it was 12 months ago. This is evidenced by FLNG Hilli Episeyo being operational, cash flow generative, and a constructive progress is being made with respect to utilization of its spare capacity.

Also the underlying recovery in the shipping market. Golar Power's Sergipe power project and the Golar Nanook FSRU are fully financed and less than 11 months from contract startup; of course, the award by BP of a 20-year FLNG contract, that is expected to deliver annual contracted revenues less forecasted operating costs of approximately $250 million; and a total contracted earnings backlog, including our proportionate share from equity investments of $6.6 billion, comprising $2.5 billion from Golar Power, $0.5 billion from Golar Partners and $3.6 billion from Golar LNG.

In shipping, mild weather in key Asian markets is suppressing Asian LNG prices and currently preventing inter-basin trading activity. And close to half of the 2019 newbuild vessels are also scheduled to deliver in this quarter. And together, this is contributing to a rise in prompt vessel availability and, of course, softening spot rates, with headline TFDE spot rates currently somewhere around $50,000 a day. Based on fixtures to-date, Golar expects the first quarter 2019 TCE will be significantly reduced in the fourth quarter and clearly below mid-cycle rates. And although the spot rates may be prone to further periods of volatility, our belief in the structural shortage of vessels remains firm. 2019 is expected to be the first year since 2012 that the shipping balance will report a deficit in the number of ships required. And this deficit is expected to increase into 2020.

New FLNG opportunities are appearing and others are developing on the back of a strong operational performance from Hilli and the award of the BP contract. FLNG is rapidly becoming acknowledged as a strong technical solution, and Golar remains the leader in terms of project development and operating experience, including the ability to work with project owners in order to get their projects to an FID.

The company expects 2019 operating income to continue to improve, driven by a stronger shipping market in the first full year of FLNG Hilli Episeyo operations. In 2020, operations will commence at Sergipe, and further production growth from Hilli is also anticipated.

Looking back on 2018, I'm extremely pleased with the way the Golar team has responded to some of our earlier setbacks, bounced back and put us in a strong position for the creation of growth in 2019.

Thank you for your attention. I'd now like to hand you back to the operator for questions.

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Questions and Answers

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Operator [1]

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(Operator Instructions) And your first question comes from the line of Michael Webber of Wells Fargo.

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Michael Webber, Wells Fargo Securities, LLC, Research Division - Director & Senior Equity Analyst [2]

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So there's a ton to unpack within the release. So I'll keep it at 2, but I'll keep them pretty broad. The first question is around, I guess, your footprint. And there's a couple of things going on within the release. You talk about -- it seems like you kind of tee up the idea that you could see the more formal spend of Golar Power. And then you've already talked to kind of the strategic options you're looking at for the LNG carriers, and you fleshed that out a bit. And then you also took a write-down impairment on your stake in GMLP. If I kind of think about all those within context, it seems like you are kind of realigning or kind of poised to kind of realign your structure and your footprint kind of more in line with the verticals that you're exposed to specifically, which seems like it would make sense from a financing perspective, et cetera. I'm just curious. Is that the case? And then within the context of -- your stake in GMLP and GMLP's existence, does rolling that up make sense before you then kind of realign the footprint? Or would you expect GMLP to continue to kind of exist alongside what would eventually be kind of a couple of new buckets or entities?

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Iain Ross, Golar LNG Limited - CEO of Golar Management Ltd [3]

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Thanks for the question, Mike. I think there's almost as much in your question that we've put in our release.

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Michael Webber, Wells Fargo Securities, LLC, Research Division - Director & Senior Equity Analyst [4]

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Yes, I know. Sorry. I tried to tie it together as nicely as I could, but...

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Iain Ross, Golar LNG Limited - CEO of Golar Management Ltd [5]

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I think what we're trying to put out is we acknowledge the complexity of the business. And of course, we were talking and trying to explain what we're considering. We actually haven't decided on any of those items, but it's fair to say that we're looking at ways of making the business more investable or more clear to potential investors as we move forward. So -- and looking at things that may happen or activities that may happen around the ships, which we talked about before, and highlighting that we're trying to get a growth plan developed for Golar Power on the back of coming to the end of the Sergipe project, all of those things are natural progressions of the business, I think. You want to add anything there?

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Graham Robjohns, Golar LNG Limited - Deputy CEO & CFO of Golar Management Ltd. [6]

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Yes -- no. I think that's -- I mean, I think Iain said it well.

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Michael Webber, Wells Fargo Securities, LLC, Research Division - Director & Senior Equity Analyst [7]

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Okay. Yes. No, that's helpful. And then as we think about your FLNG platform specifically, there are a bunch of details I get to on Tortue. But when I think about the next 1 to 2 years and where you're going with that platform, you're in a better commercial position probably than you've been for that technology and that platform than you have been since inception. But it seems, like at least from the outside, that there's maybe not an obvious leader in the clubhouse in terms of kind of the next target or the next destination for one of your FLNG assets. Can you maybe help us prioritize potential projects and geographies, and maybe specifically whether you think it's more likely you do something in West Africa next versus another geography?

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Iain Ross, Golar LNG Limited - CEO of Golar Management Ltd [8]

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So there's a few things that have surprised us recently. And the thing that's been the biggest surprise is the volume of incoming calls of people that got current gas problems that we take a vessel tomorrow. If I had a Hilli or a completed Gimi, we could deploy that straightaway. There is definitely demand that's out there. We continue to make good progress with Delfin. I've got a team that are over in Houston right now having further meetings. These projects, of course, are complex and dig below the surface and there are many, many items there to solve. But we're working very collaboratively and continue to make progress on that project. And whilst I'm not making any prediction of how it will turn out, we definitely have a time line that if everything fell into place, we could end up somewhere pretty good by the end of this year.

I suspect, in addition to that, we will have one of those other gas-related, so gas problem projects, if you want to call them that. It's not a problem. It's an opportunity. But I suspect one of those projects will have the chance of coming to the fore pretty quickly. And that our bubble chart of opportunity has definitely changed. We dropped a few prospects off that we were perhaps chasing over the last couple of years that are probably too complex and too hard, and that gives you an indication of the number of opportunities that are coming in that are more fruitful. So being able to move the opportunities around and really try and pick the ones that have got a greater chance of going ahead is interesting. And we've gone through and developed a new way of assessing all of these opportunities. We can be fairly firm in recognizing jobs that -- projects that may look really good on paper but when you dig into them, if they're not going to get there, we'll just drop them off the table.

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Operator [9]

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And your next question comes from the line of Randy Giveans of Jefferies.

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Randall Giveans, Jefferies LLC, Research Division - Equity Analyst [10]

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So I guess, my first question will be around kind of Tortue announcement. The contract is for the Gimi. But last call, you said that Gandria was already being retrofitted at Keppel. So if you can kind of touch on what happened to Gandria, why the Gimi instead of that one. But my question also is around the GLNG cut, $300 million or so in equity needs for the Tortue. Are there any concerns or possibilities maybe around an equity offering needed to pay that? Or how do you expect to fund that? Obviously, you have a pretty robust cash balance, but if you can touch on that.

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Iain Ross, Golar LNG Limited - CEO of Golar Management Ltd [11]

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okay. Let me take the first part of your question, Randy, on the Gandria. So Gandria was moved to Singapore, gosh. I can't remember, 6, 9 months ago. It was nominated for, of course, the Fortuna project. In anticipation of that project gaining momentum, we elected to take the Gandria into the yard and started survey work on the vessel. We -- I think we pointed it out at the time, but the work that we were doing was nonproject-specific and would not be used for any conversion project. We didn't actually do an awful lot of physical work on the vessel. It was more condition assessment and understanding what the work scope would be. As of today, we've actually swapped Gandria and Gimi. They were side-by-side in Keppel's shipyard for a while, which was quite nice, but we've actually moved Gandria back to [Labline] and put her in temporary layup until the next opportunity. And that's really just a space of the shipyard issue.

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Graham Robjohns, Golar LNG Limited - Deputy CEO & CFO of Golar Management Ltd. [12]

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Yes. Randy, yes, if I take the second part of the -- your question on the $300 million, I think the first thing to note is that, of course, it is over a four-year period. We -- in terms of operating cash flow, as we mentioned in the prepared notes, we have moved from sort of negative EBITDA in 2017 to pretty strong EBITDA in 2018, and expect that to improve in 2019 with cash flows from operations increasing still further in 2020 once Sergipe comes online. And of course, again, as you kind of alluded to in your question, we're starting from a pretty strong cash base in the first place. We had $218 million in free cash flow on the balance sheet at the end of the year, and we have $110 million of cash that's going to be released over the next couple of years from the Hilli LC. So all in all, we think we're in a pretty strong position.

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Randall Giveans, Jefferies LLC, Research Division - Equity Analyst [13]

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Got it. So just to summarize that first question, no need for any kind of equity offering?

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Graham Robjohns, Golar LNG Limited - Deputy CEO & CFO of Golar Management Ltd. [14]

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Well, I've said we're in a -- yes, a pretty strong position with regards to our cash assets that we have in our operating cash flows that we expect to come over the next 4 years.

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Randall Giveans, Jefferies LLC, Research Division - Equity Analyst [15]

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Sure. All right. That's fair. I'll leave it at that. Now on the LNG shipping side, are all the vessels in the Cool Pool currently employed? And then kind of what is the average duration remaining on the current fixtures? I know some Cool Pool contracts are for single cargo, whereas others are for multi-month or up to even 1 year. So if you can touch on kind of the Cool Pool there.

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Iain Ross, Golar LNG Limited - CEO of Golar Management Ltd [16]

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So with the Cool Pool, we don't give out specific details in every vessel. But I mean, I think it would be a fair assumption with the rates as depressed and my commentary in the prepared remarks around the number of spot vessels that have been released this quarter, it would be right to assume that not all of the Cool Pool vessels are working right now. Fixtures continue to be fixed. Right now, there probably -- you would want them to be for single voyages because the rates are suppressed. So we wouldn't be looking at this time to be fixing out on longer durations. But within the Cool Pool, those -- all of the ships are essentially on relatively short term.

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Operator [17]

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And your next question comes from the line of Jon Chappell of Evercore.

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Jonathan B. Chappell, Evercore ISI Institutional Equities, Research Division - Senior MD [18]

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My first question's on the announcement from yesterday. I mean, I think it's great to get a 20-year BP contract in the contract backlog, but the question was the 30% ownership by Keppel Capital. How did that come about? Was that timing on your end from arranging the financing or trying to minimize the cash outflows associated with it? Or was that something demanded by Keppel? It just seems like maybe giving away a little bit of the upside from the contract.

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Iain Ross, Golar LNG Limited - CEO of Golar Management Ltd [19]

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So Jon, it's worth going back and recalling the history. So the BP project, the Gimi project, and we didn't talk about it publicly at the time largely because we weren't allowed to, that project originally belonged within OneLNG, the joint venture that Golar had with Schlumberger. And if you recall, Schlumberger pulled out. And to be fair to Keppel Capital, they stepped in at very short notice, agreed to put up their balance sheet to support us on the project. And within just a few days, we managed to convince BP to go with Golar plus a suitable partner, recalling that having Schlumberger in there, obviously, was an attractive proposition until they pulled out. So I think a different way to look at it is that we've gone from having 50% of a project to having 70% of a project, and we got a partner that's aligned with us in execution of the job. So I don't think it's a bad outcome at all.

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Jonathan B. Chappell, Evercore ISI Institutional Equities, Research Division - Senior MD [20]

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Okay. No, that makes a lot of sense. And then on the LNG aspirations, the shipping business, pretty clear on what you plan to do with the TFDEs, although I'm only getting to 8 if you take the 2 ships that are pledged to Golar Power for eventual conversion. So maybe a part A to this question is, is there only going to be 1 more vessel pledged to Golar Power for a conversion, and one of the other ones would then be part of the 9? But the second part is, what are the plans for the steam vessels? I know the Viking's being converted, hopefully, for Croatia. But are they just going to kind of stay in the Golar structure today and would hope for a conversion at some point? Because they obviously didn't do incredibly well in the fourth quarter in a very tight market. So just wondering what the long-term plan is for them.

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Iain Ross, Golar LNG Limited - CEO of Golar Management Ltd [21]

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Well, I mean, there are another, what, 6 ships -- 6 steam ships. So I mean, what we'll do with those is continue to look for conversion opportunities, be they for FSRUs or others, and look when the market turns to put them on probably a longer-term contract if the market permits it. And the 9 ships that I mentioned about that potentially going into this new structure reflects the number of TFDEs that we would be left with.

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Jonathan B. Chappell, Evercore ISI Institutional Equities, Research Division - Senior MD [22]

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Okay. But -- so I count 10 TFDE ships in your fleet. Two of them, I can't remember the names, just give me 1 second. The Celsius and the Penguin, I think, were supposedly pledged to Golar Power as part of the 3 ships there. Would one of those then be part of this new venture when -- and one of them stick with the Golar Power? Or am I missing something there?

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Iain Ross, Golar LNG Limited - CEO of Golar Management Ltd [23]

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We have a bit of flexibility around there. Nothing's been concluded. But remember, we've also got the Golar Tundra as an FSRU. So I think we've got enough flexibility to guarantee 9 ships going into this new entity if that happens.

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Operator [24]

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Your next question comes from the line of Espen Landmark of Fearnley.

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Espen Landmark Fjermestad, Fearnley Securities AS, Research Division - Equity Analyst [25]

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I just had one question really. I mean, I guess, many are surprised. The Golar shares didn't form in the fourth quarter when you saw the spot rates rally. I guess oil prices going the other way had something to do with that. But then you're releasing a short memo in December, which essentially formed the basis for the announcement yesterday, which is a massive project with very firm economics. Today, I think you're pointing to further progress in essentially everything you do. And then looking at sell side, 21 of 21 analysts covering Golar has a buy rating. And even today, the stock is not really performing. So this is a tricky question, but the share price is important for you guys as well. So what do you think the equity markets see that we don't?

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Iain Ross, Golar LNG Limited - CEO of Golar Management Ltd [26]

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That's a question we normally ask you guys. I would say that we --- feedback we have had is that Golar's a complex business to look at from the outside. I think some of the things that we've discussed today shows that we're considering how to make the business more easy for investors that only want to invest in part of what we currently participate in. That can be done. So that's part of it. I think there's generally a bit of a negative sentiment in the energy stocks at the moment, but I believe that will turn the corner at some point during the course of this year. But I think more importantly, what we can do in Golar is not sit and react to what the share price is doing, but more importantly, say, "These are the things that we're going to do," and actually deliver on them rather than give a whole lot of promises that we never turn up with.

So for me, it's about -- talking about the fact that we do have the BP contract now. We guided the market towards that happening around about the end of last year. Well, this is only February, and we've got a signed deal. I mean, that's pretty exceptional for BP to be able to turn that around in what is a very difficult set of contracts to get negotiated. So I think there's commitment there. There's momentum in our FLNG business. And I think what we should be doing is focusing on the things that we can do to make a difference to our EBITDA backlog, to our cash that is coming out of the business rather than being overly concerned about what's happening specifically on our share price, which, of course, we can't control.

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Operator [27]

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And your next question comes from the line of Fotis Giannakoulis of Morgan Stanley.

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Fotis Giannakoulis, Morgan Stanley, Research Division - VP, Research [28]

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A couple of questions. First of all, if you can give us a little bit more details about the financing of the Tortue project. You alluded that you might get additional financing from the $700 million. Can you give us a little bit more color on that? And also talk to us about the repayment schedule and how will this be compared with that of the Hilli FLNG.

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Graham Robjohns, Golar LNG Limited - Deputy CEO & CFO of Golar Management Ltd. [29]

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Yes, Fotis, sure. So I think -- I mean, the first thing to note is, of course, this financing, although it's from different sources, this is coming from international banks. It doesn't look that dissimilar to the situation we have with Hilli, where there was $700 million during the construction period and then it increased at COD. What we're saying is that we have, or we'll have shortly, we expect the committed $700 million. And that we are pretty clear that as we get close to COD, we will increase that facility either with existing banks or with refinancing. But there are pretty clear indications that, that is the route that we'll go down to. We'll get to close, if not above the $960 million that we have with the Hilli.

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Fotis Giannakoulis, Morgan Stanley, Research Division - VP, Research [30]

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Is there a way you can give us some guidance on the free cash flow? You also talked about some potential upside on the revenue.

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Graham Robjohns, Golar LNG Limited - Deputy CEO & CFO of Golar Management Ltd. [31]

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Yes. So in terms of the financing profile, it will not be that -- the debt facility profile will not be that dissimilar to Hilli. And the overperformance, which you referred to, relates to if we're performing above base capacity. So there's another sort of 10% or so increase if we are absolutely maxing out on the vessel.

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Fotis Giannakoulis, Morgan Stanley, Research Division - VP, Research [32]

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One more question, a little bit more strategic question. At this point, Golar has several investments in different pockets, from shipping, to power, to FSRU, to FLNG. I noticed that the Nanook, except for the fact that it's going to serve the power plant in Brazil, is going to be used for the commissioning cargo, is going to get gas from the Hilli. I'm trying to see how you think the company the next couple of years from having separate investments across different parts of the LNG supply chain to becoming a more integrated company? Is this a plan towards this direction? How shall we think Golar the next couple of years spending its capital and investing in the LNG business?

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Iain Ross, Golar LNG Limited - CEO of Golar Management Ltd [33]

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So I think where we right now see capital investment opportunities being most attractive are in the FLNG end and in the sort of the other end, in the downstream, in the small-scale gas distribution end. Now part of getting into that small-scale gas distribution is you need to have access to a strategic asset. And the way you described Nanook is a perfect example of that, whereby we have a baseload contract, which is the Sergipe power station contract, providing the underpinning income for the Nanook. So that in itself is a good deal for the Nanook alone. But of course, we've got 2/3 of the capacity of the Nanook that we can use for other things. And so, therefore, we are very actively working out how we can contract that capacity through further distribution.

And I think where we're going to be concentrating on our efforts is to try and stimulate that market because that market is there, it's -- but it's nascent. It doesn't really exist yet, but it's just -- I think it's going to be quite significant because you have diesel being burned to generate fuel in remote locations, and the equivalent LNG price is very expensive. It's $20, $25, $30 a million BTU equivalent. And if we can get LNG to that location for a significantly less price, then not only will it make the consumer of that gas to burn for power, make them happy because they're going to pay less, it's also better for the environment. So -- and there's a similar story with trucking, which we've spoken about before.

So those -- generating or creating the LNG, so the FLNG business. And then the other extreme, working out how to take it from the FSRU into small scale is where we see our capital being deployed. And of course, by having an FSRU strategically located is an important part of that. And I think Avenir, we talked about it last time, is a key component of that value chain because that allows us to break bulk from the big FSRUs into the smaller Avenir ships and take them further down that supply chain.

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Fotis Giannakoulis, Morgan Stanley, Research Division - VP, Research [34]

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Can you please clarify which portion of the small scale will be done through Avenir and which portion will be done through Golar? This is not very clear to us.

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Iain Ross, Golar LNG Limited - CEO of Golar Management Ltd [35]

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I think that's evolving. I think it depends where it is and where it's come from. I mean, Avenir, there is an overlap, but I think the other way to look at it is there's plenty of business there to share around. Golar Power is active in Brazil, stimulating and developing both the trucking market and the small distributed power generation market. Avenir, as you know, is focusing on the Sardinia terminal, and we're currently building some of the small-scale carriers. So I think the complement of all of that, people working together when this market takes off, is really where we're focusing at the moment.

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Operator [36]

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And your next question comes from the line of Frode Morkedal of Clarksons Securities.

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Frode Morkedal, Clarksons Platou Securities AS, Research Division - MD [37]

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Coming back to the financing on the Gimi again, I guess, with the 20-year contract and the $4.3 billion backlog, you should be able to have even higher debt levels than the $960 million you talked about. Could you just touch upon that, why not even more debt level and, therefore, release more (inaudible) back?

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Graham Robjohns, Golar LNG Limited - Deputy CEO & CFO of Golar Management Ltd. [38]

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I don't disagree. I think I referenced the $960 million because that was the debt level on the Hilli. What we've said is that it's $700 million during construction. We're pretty clear that as we get close to COD, we'll be able to increase that, and we'll see what that level is.

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Frode Morkedal, Clarksons Platou Securities AS, Research Division - MD [39]

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Okay, okay. Yes. And on the Hilli train 3, can you just remind us on the potential economics? I guess you have $42 million fixed EBITDA on the 2 trains today per quarter. What will it be with train 3?

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Iain Ross, Golar LNG Limited - CEO of Golar Management Ltd [40]

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I think we've talked about this before. So we've already got a pre-existing agreement with our customer that when train 3 comes on board, there's a slight discount across the 3 trains, and we retain the Brent linkage. So...

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Graham Robjohns, Golar LNG Limited - Deputy CEO & CFO of Golar Management Ltd. [41]

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I think we -- in last quarter's earnings presentation, we showed a slide that showed that under the terms of the option that is contracted, assuming an oil price of $75 a barrel, that would add around $95 million in EBITDA.

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Operator [42]

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And your next question comes from the line of Chris Snyder of Deutsche Bank.

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Christopher M. Snyder, Deutsche Bank AG, Research Division - Research Associate [43]

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So my first question is around the spin-off. You said there's agreements for $1.1 billion of debt financing for the non-TFDE vessels. Can you just talk about the leverage ratios expected up in the spin-off entity? I'm just trying to translate this debt financing into a potential sale price or implied asset valuations.

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Graham Robjohns, Golar LNG Limited - Deputy CEO & CFO of Golar Management Ltd. [44]

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Well, so it's around about 65-ish ratio.

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Christopher M. Snyder, Deutsche Bank AG, Research Division - Research Associate [45]

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Okay. So that's almost looking like $200 million a vessel, more like almost $190 million?

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Graham Robjohns, Golar LNG Limited - Deputy CEO & CFO of Golar Management Ltd. [46]

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Yes, yes. So that $1.1 million (sic - $1.1 billion) is made up of some existing facilities and some new facility. So on the new facility, it would be -- sorry, on some of the existing facilities, the potential is actually a little bit higher.

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Christopher M. Snyder, Deutsche Bank AG, Research Division - Research Associate [47]

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Okay. Next, can you just remind...

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Iain Ross, Golar LNG Limited - CEO of Golar Management Ltd [48]

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Actually, so just to be clear, I think we've got existing lease facilities that would roll over. So that's basically what we're saying there. So it's a combination of lease and new, yes.

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Christopher M. Snyder, Deutsche Bank AG, Research Division - Research Associate [49]

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Okay, fair enough. And can you just remind us how much debt Golar currently has on those 9 vessels roundabout?

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Graham Robjohns, Golar LNG Limited - Deputy CEO & CFO of Golar Management Ltd. [50]

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It's not dissimilar to that amount. There's a fairly detailed analysis in the earnings release if you review that after the call.

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Christopher M. Snyder, Deutsche Bank AG, Research Division - Research Associate [51]

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Okay. And next question is around Tortue. I think there's expectations that BP will look to expand the project pretty significantly, just given their investment that they've made and the other massive reserve base. Can you just talk about potential incremental FLNG demand if we do see this significant expansion? Or is the expectation that BP will kind of just leverage the Gimi with other purchasing equipment that drive the Phase 2 and even a Phase 3?

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Iain Ross, Golar LNG Limited - CEO of Golar Management Ltd [52]

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Well, BP will require additional liquefaction trains. And we have not had any meaningful discussion with them for many, many months. We've been so focused on trying to get this first one over the line, there just hasn't been any room in the day to -- and it's not been appropriate to raise that. We'll probably find out in the next few months what BP's plans are, now that we've got the first one kicked off. The short answer is we just haven't talked about it.

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Christopher M. Snyder, Deutsche Bank AG, Research Division - Research Associate [53]

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Okay, fair enough. And then just last one real quick. Can you provide any color on the economics around the Global Viking, the FSRU contract you guys announced?

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Iain Ross, Golar LNG Limited - CEO of Golar Management Ltd [54]

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Well, I think we'll just hold off on that until we get more certainty over that, the contract and the CPs. We'll give -- and when it looks like they're going to be lifted, we'll give a more full brief.

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Operator [55]

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And your next question comes from the line of Chris Wetherbee of Citigroup.

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Christian F. Wetherbee, Citigroup Inc, Research Division - VP [56]

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I guess, I wanted to talk a little bit about your capacity and sort of Golar management capacity as you think about the potential of running 2 FLNG conversions simultaneously potentially in the future. Is that something that you feel confident, both from a yard standpoint and a management standpoint, that can be done?

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Iain Ross, Golar LNG Limited - CEO of Golar Management Ltd [57]

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I believe we can. I mean, we've got -- as I mentioned earlier, we have an incredibly high percentage of our leadership team that's on the Gimi conversion that has Hilli experience. You don't actually need it to be as high as it is. It's a great thing that it is, but our ability to bring more people in -- and I think we're seeing this already as we consider the operations team for the Gimi, we've already identified many people who will cycle through the Hilli operation and move on to Gimi. So I think there's a couple of things here. One is FLNG's a very sort of buoyant thing in the industry at the moment, and we're getting a lot of interest from people wanting to join Golar. I think we've got enough capacity to be able to do this sort of side-by-side working and transfer that knowledge as we move forward.

And I think that then, we then look at the contracting community and move our focus to where is the best place to do that work. Is the capacity there in the contracting community? And we have had some of those discussions as well. So regardless of what the -- where the source is as a customer for the next vessel, we're obviously thinking about that now. And in addition to that, of course, we've got an FLNG development team that comprises both technical and commercial people looking to develop that next project to FID stage. And as part of that development journey, they obviously consider these things.

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Christian F. Wetherbee, Citigroup Inc, Research Division - VP [58]

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And from a yard standpoint, you're confident in Keppel's ability to be able to do both, if possible?

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Iain Ross, Golar LNG Limited - CEO of Golar Management Ltd [59]

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We've had discussions with Keppel about their ability to do another vessel at some point with a staggered start, and those discussions have been really positive.

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Christian F. Wetherbee, Citigroup Inc, Research Division - VP [60]

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Okay, okay. That's very helpful. I appreciate that. And can you just, I guess, maybe think bigger picture about if you could maybe lay out some of the road map of timing of all of the different things that you guys are working on. I know there's been a lot of questions sort of touching on how the potential of this business and this company might evolve over the course of the next several years. But could you maybe give us a road map of sort of what's priority number one versus number two, and maybe how you think about power and the fleet and everything kind of going forward here? It'd just be helpful to get an understanding of how you might see this developing and sort of in what type of time frame.

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Iain Ross, Golar LNG Limited - CEO of Golar Management Ltd [61]

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Okay. So I'll have a go with doing that. So very high level. I mean, if you think about the things that we've talked about today, we've got the potential for something happening with the ships. That's going to be a 2019 activity if it happens, I would imagine, on the basis that we see the market improving and, more importantly, becoming stable. This is taking -- we want to take that volatility out of the market to move that way. We've talked about Sergipe coming onstream end of this year, beginning of next year. And therefore, the timing for something around Golar Power's growth platform, that's lined up to be developed this year for an implementation possibly next year. We -- as I said, it's early days. Remember that we have different teams doing these works, so we can do them in parallel.

The development of a second FID, perhaps later in the year, that's a big priority, and we're working hard on that with the pipeline of projects that we've got. And then the fourth area developing, and it's part of -- in some ways, it's part of the Golar Power story, getting the next FSRU lined up that's potentially linked to a power station. And of course, we've talked about train 3 on Hilli, which we don't have to do very much because we're ready to go. But we expect that to -- we'll be in receipt mode for that before the end of this year. So we -- I think we got these things running in parallel. But organizationally, we're structured to do these in parallel. And I think, financially, we're also structured to do these in parallel. I don't know if that's too high a level for you, but I will be happy to take it offline.

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Christian F. Wetherbee, Citigroup Inc, Research Division - VP [62]

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Yes. No, that actually is very helpful in terms of laying out the broad frameworks. I really appreciate it. I appreciate it.

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Operator [63]

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Your next question is from the line of Eirik Haavaldsen of Pareto Securities.

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Eirik Haavaldsen, Pareto Securities, Research Division - Head of Research [64]

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Just quickly, and please forgive me if you already addressed this, but what's the reason for the -- it seems like the train 3 at Hilli is getting a bit pushed back, and there's limited progress. I mean, you've been ready for some time and nothing is happening. Is this related to LNG prices? Is it related to the government of Cameroon? Or what's the holdup?

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Iain Ross, Golar LNG Limited - CEO of Golar Management Ltd [65]

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Okay. So first point is that we haven't pushed it back. Maybe your expectations have been different, but we've been ready. We've run all 4 trains. We've run 3 at once on several occasions. So I think there's no problem with our vessel. So then it turns around to gas supply. And Perenco is a privately held company. They're quite secretive, and they're very tight with information that they want to be public. So I think all I can say is that they will be drilling additional wells and doing some subsea tiebacks to secure the gas. And for -- in order to get the train 3 working, we don't need any additional governmental approvals. But what I would say is that the representatives from SNH, that represent the government of Cameroon in the energy sector, are very supportive of moving forward. These things just take time. It's about capital allocation within Perenco, getting organized and doing the job safely and to the right level of standards. So these things just take time.

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Eirik Haavaldsen, Pareto Securities, Research Division - Head of Research [66]

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Okay. And secondly, you also mentioned in your report very briefly that you remain engaged with the relevant authorities of Equatorial Guinea in case the life is awarded to an operator. Are there any type of discussions ongoing at all with a new potential operator that could be interested? Or is this sort of just fading out a bit?

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Iain Ross, Golar LNG Limited - CEO of Golar Management Ltd [67]

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I'm sure there are. I mean, I would imagine that the government of Equatorial Guinea are very keen to monetize the gas that's sitting in the Fortuna asset. And I would know that we'll be talking to a number of potential suitors for the acreage. What we don't know yet is who that will be, and we don't know what their monetization plans are. What we do know is if they want to put an LNG facility in, they'll come and talk to us.

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Operator [68]

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And your next question comes from the line of Jason Gabelman of Cowen.

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Jason Daniel Gabelman, Cowen and Company, LLC, Research Division - VP [69]

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I guess, it's just around the progress of your new FLNG projects. It's taken around 3 years from when you FID'ed Hilli to get FID on Tortue. And I know there's probably a hope that FID's coming quicker than they have, but is that a reasonable expectation going forward for how long it takes until you get another FLNG project FID'ed?

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Iain Ross, Golar LNG Limited - CEO of Golar Management Ltd [70]

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Yes. I think that is a reasonable assumption to expect the interval to accelerate. We certainly want it to accelerate. And I think the elements that underpin that assumption are, firstly, as I mentioned earlier, the acceptance of Hilli being the -- I guess, the proof of concept and the reliable performance that Hilli has been demonstrating to the market; and then secondly, BP selecting Golar's FLNG technology for their Tortue field, which is -- it's a massive development, and we're right in the middle of their development and key to that project success. So I think that will -- we know that that's giving the market increased confidence in the application of liquefaction technology. And when we corporately publicly declared that we wanted to do 5 FIDs in 5 years, I don't think that was a technically unreasonable ambition. I think it was probably 2 years too early. And having that level of ambition now is -- for us, it still remains. And I think for the reasons I've mentioned, it's far more possible now than it was a couple of years ago.

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Jason Daniel Gabelman, Cowen and Company, LLC, Research Division - VP [71]

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And just on Hilli train 3, if I could ask the question a different way. I understand you guys have been ready for quite some time to get Hilli train 3 utilized. What's changed from an operator standpoint? And the second part of that question is, what -- how long can you operate 3 trains, given Perenco's current resource? I think there's been prior estimates of it was either 5 years or 8 years with all 3 trains running. Is that still fair?

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Iain Ross, Golar LNG Limited - CEO of Golar Management Ltd [72]

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So I don't think anything's really changed around Perenco. If you think about it from their point of view, they contracted with us for the world's first converted FLNG vessel to process their gas. They've been very pleased publicly with the performance, and you would expect them to sit and look at this for a few months before deciding they want to invest further in it just to make sure that they were happy and confident with the process. I think the time has come where they'd be, in parallel, looking at their development plans of how they get the additional gas. And they're getting to the point where they're feeling more confident in us. They're feeling more confident in their solutions for getting the additional gas. And therefore, they're indicating to us that towards the end of the year, it seems like it makes sense. So you've got to look at this from their point of view. From our point of view, we were ready months ago. But the world doesn't always work that way. Sorry, I forgot your second question.

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Jason Daniel Gabelman, Cowen and Company, LLC, Research Division - VP [73]

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Just on the number of years, you can run 3 trains at full rates.

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Iain Ross, Golar LNG Limited - CEO of Golar Management Ltd [74]

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Well, the agreement that we've got relates to 8 years of 500 Bcf. And if we go outside those parameters, then we will have a different conversation. I think it's fair to say that when we get to that point, we'll have figured out how to get train 4 on board as well, and we'll wrap all that up together. But that will be in -- once we've sold the train 4, then we'll figure out how to do that and then advise.

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Operator [75]

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Your next question comes from the line of Greg Lewis of BTIG.

The next question comes from the line of Magnus Fyhr of Seaport Global.

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Magnus Sven Fyhr, Seaport Global Securities LLC, Research Division - MD & Senior Shipping Analyst [76]

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My questions have already been answered.

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Operator [77]

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And the next question comes from the line of Craig Shere of Tuohy Brothers.

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Craig Kenneth Shere, Tuohy Brothers Investment Research, Inc. - Director of Research [78]

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I just had -- was wondering if you had more color around, Delfin, if you think that the key linchpin would be more supply rather than offtake, and where you think that might fall in the pecking order of the likely next couple FLNG projects that you might have.

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Iain Ross, Golar LNG Limited - CEO of Golar Management Ltd [79]

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Craig, so as I mentioned, we're working actively on Delfin at the moment. We've got a team in Houston working with the Delfin guys. We've got a work program over the next 2 months to try and understand more of their threshold issues. Of course, the main threshold issues are connecting the LNG supply and the LNG offtake. If we can get the offtaker and the supplier aligned, there's a few different ways you can do it. And we're just walking through the various permutations, finding out who's currently interested, particularly in the wave of the ExxonMobil Qatar announcement, and does that influence anything. But we remain really engaged in Delfin. And I can assure you that if we can find a sensible way through the supply and offtake issues and get ourselves around -- aligned around all the activities to be done, it will be right up there in the list. These projects are all, by definition, complex. And there's a lot of work in picking the ones that you want to invest time in, if that makes sense. And we're investing time in Delfin, so that should tell you where it sits in importance.

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Craig Kenneth Shere, Tuohy Brothers Investment Research, Inc. - Director of Research [80]

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And do you see the offtakers more likely to respond with certainty of supply? Is there a particular linchpin that you see start -- getting this ball rolling?

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Iain Ross, Golar LNG Limited - CEO of Golar Management Ltd [81]

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Yes, I think you're right, Craig. It's linking the offtaker to the supply, so they get comfort. It's how do you underpin the supply side to make sure that the offtaker is satisfied with that? Because both Golar and Delfin are fairly small entities. So we're working pretty hard on trying to join those dots at the moment.

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Operator [82]

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Your next question comes from the line of Donald McLee of Berenberg.

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Donald Delray McLee, Joh. Berenberg, Gossler & Co. KG, Research Division - Analyst [83]

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I was curious to hear your takeaways from the Kosmos announcement around potentially selling down their stake in the Tortue project, and particularly on the amount and quality of the interested parties, and then how that might tie into increased interest from the gas problem projects that you mentioned.

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Iain Ross, Golar LNG Limited - CEO of Golar Management Ltd [84]

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So first of all, I think you should address that question to Kosmos. We've got no further comment on that. I -- there's 2 types of FLNG project opportunity that are emerging. One is that we still think it's a great way of monetizing gas. So someone has a smaller stranded field that they just -- it's worthless. They cannot get it to market. It's not big enough to underpin a large onshore facility. Then our FLNG technology and working with them to make that happen makes a lot of sense. These are more complex than somebody saying, "I've got gas. I've to shut in wells or in flaring or whatever, and I can fill one of your vessels now. Can we have one, please?" So there are 2 types of projects emerging. And I think in the short term, we're putting more emphasis on the latter, on the gas problems, if you like, knowing that the other opportunities are still going to be there because there's no other way to monetize that gas at the moment.

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Donald Delray McLee, Joh. Berenberg, Gossler & Co. KG, Research Division - Analyst [85]

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Okay. And then if you have to put a time line to maybe the advantage to commercialization for those gas problem projects versus the stranded reserves, how quicker to market would you say those projects can happen?

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Iain Ross, Golar LNG Limited - CEO of Golar Management Ltd [86]

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Well, I think in the next year or 2, we should see a few of these tolling-type projects coming up. And then if you could imagine a scenario where we've got sort of more than 2, 3, 4, pick a number, FLNG opportunities, and in parallel I'm slightly behind, we're developing these tolling arrangements. And I do believe that we've got both a technical and commercial advantage at the moment around FLNG. At some point in the future, years hence, that will diminish, and that's where we want to be in the molecules. So we're then using our technology to liberate our share of gas in the reservoir, and then push it down the supply chain.

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Operator [87]

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There are no further questions. Sir, please continue.

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Iain Ross, Golar LNG Limited - CEO of Golar Management Ltd [88]

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Thanks for your attention, everyone, and your many questions today. I firmly believe that at Golar, we're on the right track and are making good progress towards building a strong and sustainable LNG and gas infrastructure business. We've covered a lot of ground today, so happy to follow up with you through normal channels, covering more questions and, of course, take your feedback. Otherwise, that's it. Until next quarter. Thank you, and goodbye.

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Operator [89]

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Thank you. Ladies and gentlemen, that does conclude our conference for today. Thank you all for participating. You may now disconnect.