Exmar, YPF Settle Dispute, Terminate Tango FLNG Charter
Belgium-based shipowner Exmar has settled a dispute over the charter of the Tango FLNG with Argentinian energy firm YPF, that will see the FLNG charter terminated in exchange for a settlement fee.
To remind, YPF in June sent a force majeure notice to Exmar, saying it was not able to pay for the charter of the Tango FLNG unit due to the effect of the coronavirus pandemic. Exmar at the time said the notice was unlawful, adding it was considering the best option to defend its interest.
On Monday, Exmar said it had reached a settlement agreement with YPF S.A. over the dispute under the Tango FLNG charter "effective as of [Monday]."
Under the agreement, YPF will pay a settlement amount of $150 million to Exmar "in consideration of the early termination of the
agreements and withdrawing the arbitration proceedings."
Exmar said that the first installment of $22 million was paid on Monday. The remaining $128 million will be paid in 18 monthly installments.
Tango FLNG, delivered last year from a Chinese shipyard, received natural gas from the Vaca Muerta gas field and was forecasted to produce 500,000 tons of LNG per year. The FLNG unit was commissioned in June 2019 and began a ten-year contract with YPF on September 14, 2019.
The first cargo from the FLNG unit was exported in November 2019. However, a little over a year after the start-up, the unit's contract with YPF has ended.
Exmar said Monday that the 144 meters long FLNG unit was now available for other projects.
"The FLNG’s immediate availability, proven track record, and operational experience are the right elements to rapidly unlock new markets for gas exports. Commercial leads for new employment are actively pursued," Exmar said.
According to Exmar, the FLNG unit contributed 36% to total Exmar EBITDA for the first quarter of 2020. During the quarter, TANGO FLNG produced its fourth cargo of liquefied natural gas from the Vaca Muerta gas field in Argentina and had an uptime of 99%.
Further, Exmar said that its loan agreement with Bank of China and Deutsche Bank with respect to the TANGO FLNG foresees a replenishment of
the Debt Service Reserve Account for an amount up to USD 40 million.
"The specific modalities are currently being discussed with the lenders," Exmar said.