Dutch product handling company Royal Vopak has agreed to purchase shares of 49.99% in Mitsui OSK Lines’ (MOL) floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU), MOL FSRU Challenger.

The transaction will create a joint venture (JV) between MOL and Royal Vopak in Hong Kong, as well as rebranding MOL FSRU Challenger as Bauhinia Spirit.

Both parties will jointly own and manage the FSRU and have a long-term contract with the Hong Kong Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) Terminal in place.

Under the terms of the agreement, the JV will also offer jetty operations and maintenance and port services.

MOL FSRU Challenger measures 345m in length and its beam measures 55m.

The FSRU features an LNG storage capacity of 263,000m³ and a Regas discharging capacity of 800 million standard cubic feet a day.

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The deal is expected to close after the terminal is commissioned next year subject to certain customary conditions such as refinancing and regulatory clearance.

Hong Kong LNG Terminal is a JV between the Castle Peak Power Company (CAPCO) and The Hongkong Electric Company.

It owns the offshore jetty platform for mooring the FSRU and LNG carriers.

The facility is currently under construction and anticipated to begin services by mid-next year.

In a statement, the companies said: “Based on these joint initiatives, MOL and Vopak also aim to explore further downstream opportunities for bunkering of LNG as a cleaner marine fuel in Hong Kong, which is one of the major bunkering ports of fuel oils for marine transportation.”

MOL aims to run almost 90 LNG-fuelled ships by 2030 under MOL Group Environmental Vision 2.1, which intends to reach Net Zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Last month, Japan Engine Corporation (J-ENG) reached a cooperation pact with MOL and MOL Drybulk to test a hydrogen-fuelled engine on board an in-service vessel.