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16 Nov 2023

Stephenson Harwood advises Societe Generale on financing of new-build LNG bunker supply vessel

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Law firm Stephenson Harwood LLP has advised Societe Generale on the $35.9 million financing of a newly built 12,500 cubic metre LNG bunker supply vessel that was delivered late July by Hyundai Mipo Dockyard to owners Scale Gas Med Shipping, S.L.

The construction, ownership and charter of the vessel is a joint venture project between Peninsula Petroleum and Spanish based Scale Gas Solutions S.L. (a subsidiary of Enagás). The venture has benefited from funding under the European Union's Connecting Europe Facility which provides support for high performing, sustainable and efficiently interconnected trans-European networks in the fields of transport and energy.

The Maltese flagged vessel is on long term time charter to Peninsula Petroleum, S.L.U. It will operate out of Algeciras along the Strait of Gibraltar and Spanish Mediterranean ports, loading LNG at Enagás-operated terminals and re-fuelling large LNG fuelled vessels and smaller bunker barges thereby facilitating greater use of the low carbon transitionary fuel in the area, providing significant air quality benefits and contributing to reduce CO2 emissions when compared to very low sulphur fuel oil – a first step in the shipping sector’s net-zero journey. It also has the capabilities to supply BioLNG and synthetic LNG which can offer plug and play solution for existing LNG-fuelled vessels once available at scale, allowing for a smooth transition between meeting 2030 and 2050 emission requirements for the industry.

The transaction involved the negotiation of quiet enjoyment rights between the financier and the joint venture partners, as well as guarantees in respect of both the loan and the charter.

"It's been exciting to work with Societe Generale on this transaction, involving complexities as a result of this project being a joint venture and having benefitted from an EU grant," said Ian Mace, partner and head of the ship finance group at Stephenson Harwood. "This deal further demonstrates our expertise in the asset finance sector particularly for the shipping industry – an area of focus for the firm."

“It was a pleasure working with the Stephenson Harwood team and we really appreciated their advice on what was a highly complex structure. Societe Generale is happy to have supported core clients of the bank, Enagás (via Scale Gas) and Peninsula Petroleum, in their drive to provide alternative and more sustainable bunkering services in the region” said Phil Cheesman, Head of UK Desk, Director, Maritime Industries at Societe Generale.

The Stephenson Harwood team was led by partner Ian Mace. Further support was provided by partners Jon Cripps and John Meehan and associate John Hogg.

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Ian Mace
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