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Disposal keeps Golar LNG in the black as LNG carrier utilisation falls further

Disposal keeps Golar LNG in the black as LNG carrier utilisation falls further
Golar LNG made a $24.5m profit in the first quarter, a substantial one-off gain masking a poor performance from its fleet.

The company made a $97.8m gain on the sale of the Golar Eskimo in January; excluding the disposal gain, operating losses totalled $30.7m, and financial costs of $31.9m were recorded in relation to interest and total return swaps.

Utilisation of the company's fleet of LNG carriers fell to 46% in the first quarter, from 57% in the final quarter of 2014. Three newbuilds delivered in the quarter "all experienced little or no utilisation for the remainder of the quarter," along with the Golar Arctic which was redelivered from a three year charter and remained idle for the quarter.

Golar LNG reports that chartering activity has increased in April and May, but open prompt vessels have pushed down rates from the $40,000 - $45,000 per day for TFE and $30,000 - $35,000 per day for steam turbine vessels achieved in Q1.

In its outlook the company states that the current glut of tonnage, with around 40 vessels sitting idle, will take time to be absorbed. While it expects worse results in Q2, Golar LNG believes the bottom of the market has been reached, and new LNG production capacity will begin to spur an improvement in the market from the third quarter onwards.