KNOT Offshore Partners LP
We are a limited partnership formed in February 2013, to operate and acquire shuttle tankers under long-term charters, which we define as charters of five years or more. Our sponsor, Knutsen NYK Offshore Tankers AS (KNOT), a market leading independent owner and operator of shuttle tankers, which is jointly owned by TS Shipping Invest AS (TSSI), and Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK). TSSI controlled by our Chairman, is a private Norwegian company with ownership interests in shuttle tankers, liquefied natural gas (LNG), tankers and product/chemical tankers. NYK is a Japanese public company with a fleet of approximately 800 vessels, including bulk carriers, containerships, tankers and specialized vessels. As of August 30, 2014, KNOT owns a 37.5% limited partner interest in us and, through its ownership of our general partner, a 2% general partner interest in us, as well as our incentive distribution rights.
We currently own and operate a modern fleet of eight state of the art shuttle tankers, each equipped with the latest advanced technology, including dynamic positioning and offshore systems, ensuring safe and efficient offloading from offshore installations, in the most challenging of locations and weather conditions. All our vessels operate under long term charters with major oil and gas companies engaged in offshore productions, such as Statoil, Transpetro and ENI. It is our strategy to operate our vessels under long-term charters with stable cash flows and to grow our position in the shuttle tanker market through acquisitions from KNOT and third parties.
Pursuant to our omnibus agreement with KNOT, we have taken up the option to purchase Torill Knutsen and Hilda Knutsen, both delivered 2013 for time charter with ENI. This was followed by an announcement in December 2014 that the Dan Cisne, operating under a twelve year bareboat charter with Transpetro, had been acquired, to further bolster our fleet. The Partnership has further options remaining to purchase newbuilds Ingrid Knutsen and Raquel Knutsen from KNOT within 24 months after KNOT notifies our board of directors of each vessel’s acceptances by their respective charterers, ExxonMobil and Repsol Sinopec. In September 2014, KNOT entered into new long-term charters with a subsidiary of BG to provide shuttle tanker services in Brazil beginning in late 2016. The charters with BG will be serviced by two Suezmax-size DP2 shuttle tanker newbuildings, to be constructed by Hyundai Heavy Industries. Pursuant to the Omnibus Agreement, the Partnership will have the option to acquire these vessels at fair market value from KNOT following BG’s acceptance of the vessels.
Additionally pursuant to this omnibus agreement, we also have the right to purchase from KNOT any shuttle tankers operating under charters of five or more years. This right will continue throughout the entire term of the omnibus agreement. We also believe we can grow organically by continuing to provide reliable customer service to our charterers and leveraging KNOT’s relationships, expertise and reputation.
A shuttle tanker is a specialized ship designed to transport crude oil and condensates from offshore oil field installations to onshore terminals and refineries. Shuttle tankers are equipped with sophisticated loading systems and dynamic positioning systems that allow the vessels to load cargo safely and reliably from oil field installations, even in harsh weather conditions. Shuttle tankers were developed in the North Sea in 1977 as an alternative to pipelines