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GMLP Golar LNG Partners


UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549
 
FORM 20-F
 
(Mark One)
 

REGISTRATION STATEMENT PURSUANT TO SECTION 12(b) OR (g) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
  
OR
  

ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
 For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2019
OR
  
TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
  
OR
  
SHELL COMPANY REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
 
Date of event requiring this shell company report _________________

For the transition period from                      to
 
Commission file number 001-35123
GOLAR LNG PARTNERS LP
(Exact name of Registrant as specified in its charter)
 
Republic of the Marshall Islands
(Jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)
 
2nd Floor, S.E. Pearman Building
9 Par-la-Ville Road
Hamilton, HM 11, Bermuda
(Address of principal executive offices)
 
Graham Robjohns
2nd Floor, S.E. Pearman Building
9 Par-la-Ville Road
Hamilton, HM 11, Bermuda
Telephone:  +1 (441) 295-4705

(Name, Telephone, Email and/or Facsimile Number and Address of the Company Contact Person)
 





Securities registered or to be registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of each className of each exchange on which registered
Common units representing limited partner interestsNasdaq Global Market
8.75% Series A Cumulative Redeemable Preferred Units
Nasdaq Global Market

 
Securities registered or to be registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None

Securities for which there is a reporting obligation pursuant to Section 15(d) of the Act: None
 
Indicate the number of outstanding shares of each of the issuer’s classes of capital or common stock as of the close of the period covered by the annual report.
 69,301,636 Common Units representing limited partner interests
5,520,000 8.75% Series A Cumulative Redeemable Preferred Units
 
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.
o Yes   x No
 
If this report is an annual or transition report, indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.
o Yes   x No
 
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.
x Yes   o No
 
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically and posted on its corporate Web site, if any, every Interactive Data File required to be submitted and posted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit and post such files).
x Yes   o No
 
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer or an emerging growth company. See definitions of “accelerated filer,” “large accelerated filer,” “non-accelerated filer” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act. (Check one):
Large accelerated filer o
Accelerated filer x
Non-accelerated filer o
Emerging growth company ☐
 
If an emerging growth company that prepares its financial statements in accordance with U.S. GAAP, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. o

Indicate by check mark which basis of accounting the registrant has used to prepare the financial statements included in this filing:
U.S. GAAP x
International Financial Reporting Standards as issued
by the International Accounting Standards Board o
Other o
 
If “Other” has been checked in response to the previous question, indicate by check mark which financial statement item the registrant has elected to follow.
o Item 17   o Item 18
 
If this is an annual report, indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).
Yes   x No


GOLAR LNG PARTNERS LP
 
INDEX TO REPORT ON FORM 20-F
 
 
Item 1.
Item 2.
Item 3.
A.
B.
C.
D.
Item 4.
A.
B.
C.
D.
Item 4A.
Item 5.
A.
B.
C.
D.
E.
F.
G.
Item 6.
A.
B.
C.
D.
E.
Item 7.
A.
B.
C.
Item 8.
A.
B.
Item 9.
C.
Item 10.
A.
B.
C.
D.
E.
F.
G.
H.
I.
Item 11.
Item 12.
   
 
Item 13.
Item 14.
Item 15.





Presentation of Information in this Annual Report
 
This Annual Report on Form 20-F for the year ended December 31, 2019, or the Annual Report, should be read in conjunction with the Consolidated Financial Statements and accompanying notes included in this report. Unless the context otherwise requires, references in this Annual Report to “Golar LNG Partners LP,” “Golar LNG Partners,” the “Partnership,” “we,” “our,” “us” or similar terms refer to Golar LNG Partners LP, a Marshall Islands limited partnership, or any one or more of its subsidiaries. References in this Annual Report to “our general partner” refer to Golar GP LLC, the general partner of the Partnership. References in this Annual Report to “Golar” refer, depending on the context, to Golar LNG Limited (Nasdaq: GLNG) and to any one or more of its direct and indirect subsidiaries, including Golar Management Limited (or Golar Management) and Golar Energy Limited (or “Golar Energy”). References to GMN, GMM and GMC are to Golar Management Norway AS, Golar Management Malaysia and Golar Management Croatia, respectively, wholly-owned subsidiaries of Golar Management that provide certain technical management services for our fleet. References to “Golar Power” refer to Golar's affiliate Golar Power Limited and to any one or more of its subsidiaries.

Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward Looking Statements
 
This Annual Report contains certain forward-looking statements concerning future events and our operations, performance and financial condition, including, in particular, the likelihood of our success in developing and expanding our business. Statements that are predictive in nature, that depend upon or refer to future events or conditions, or that include words such as “expects”, “anticipates”, “intends”, “plans”, “believes”, “estimates”, “projects”, “forecasts”, “will”, “may”, “potential”, “should”, and similar expressions are forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements reflect management’s current views only as of the date of this Annual Report and are not intended to give any assurance as to future results. As a result, unitholders are cautioned not to rely on any forward-looking statements.
 
Forward-looking statements appear in a number of places in this Annual Report and include statements with respect to, among other things:
 
our ability to enter into long-term time charters, including our ability to re-charter floating storage and regasification units (“FSRUs”) and liquefied natural gas (“LNG”) carriers following the termination or expiration of their time charters;
our ability to maximize the use of our vessels, including the re-deployment or disposal of vessels no longer under long-term time charter;
our ability to make cash distributions on our units and the amount of any such distributions;
our ability to repay our debt when due and to settle our interest rate swaps;
the ability of Golar and us to make additional borrowings and to access debt and equity markets;
the length and severity of outbreaks of pandemics, including the recent worldwide outbreak of the novel coronavirus ("COVID-19") and its impact on demand for LNG and natural gas, the operations of our charterers, our global operations and our business in general;
market trends in the FSRU, LNG carrier and floating liquefied natural gas vessel (“FLNG”) industries, including fluctuations in charter hire rates, vessel values, factors affecting supply and demand, and opportunities for the profitable operations of FSRUs, LNG carriers and FLNGs;
our vessel values and any future impairment charges we may incur;
the ability of Golar and us to retrofit vessels as FSRUs or FLNGs and the timing of the delivery and acceptance of any such retrofitted vessels by their respective charterers;
challenges by authorities to the tax benefits we previously obtained;
our ability to integrate and realize the expected benefits from acquisitions and potential acquisitions:
the future share of earnings relating to the FLNG, Hilli Episeyo ("Hilli"), which is accounted for under the equity method;
our anticipated growth strategies;
the effect of a worldwide economic slowdown;
turmoil in the global financial markets;
fluctuations in currencies and interest rates;
changes in commodity prices;
the liquidity and creditworthiness of our charterers;
changes in our operating expenses, including dry-docking and insurance costs and bunker prices;
our future financial condition or results of operations and future revenues and expenses;
planned capital expenditures and availability of capital resources to fund capital expenditures;
the exercise of purchase options by our charterers;
our ability to maintain long-term relationships with major LNG traders;


our ability to leverage the relationships and reputation of Golar and Golar Power in the LNG industry;
our ability to purchase vessels from Golar and Golar Power in the future;
timely purchases and deliveries of new build vessels;
future purchase prices of new build and secondhand vessels;
economic substance laws and regulations adopted or considered by various jurisdictions of formation or incorporation of us and certain of our subsidiaries;
our ability to compete successfully for future chartering and newbuilding opportunities;
acceptance of a vessel by its charterer;
termination dates and extensions of charters;
the expected cost of, and our ability to comply with, governmental regulations, maritime self-regulatory organization standards, as well as standard regulations imposed by our charterers applicable to our business;
economic substance laws and regulations adopted or considered by various jurisdictions of formation of us and certain of our subsidiaries;
availability of skilled labor, vessel crews and management, including possible disruptions caused by the COVID-19 outbreak;
our general and administrative expenses and our fees and expenses payable under the fleet management agreements and the management and administrative services agreement between us and Golar Management (or the “Management and Administrative Services Agreement”);
the anticipated taxation of our partnership and distributions to our unitholders;
estimated future maintenance and replacement capital expenditures;
our and Golar's ability to retain key employees;
customers’ increasing emphasis on environmental and safety concerns;
potential liability from any pending or future litigation;
potential disruption of shipping routes due to accidents, political events, piracy or acts by terrorists;
future sales of our securities in the public market;
our business strategy and other plans and objectives for future operations; and
other factors listed from time to time in the reports and other documents that we file with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”).
 
Forward-looking statements in this Annual Report are based upon estimates reflecting the judgment of management and involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties. These forward-looking statements are based upon a number of assumptions and estimates that are inherently subject to significant uncertainties and contingencies, many of which are beyond our control. Actual results may differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Accordingly, these forward-looking statements should be considered in light of various important factors, including those set forth in this Annual Report under the caption “Item 3—Key Information—D. Risk Factors”.
 
We do not intend to revise any forward-looking statements in order to reflect any change in our expectations or events or circumstances that may subsequently arise. We make no prediction or statement about the performance of our common units ("Common Units") or our 8.75% Series A Cumulative Redeemable Preferred Units ("Series A Preferred Units").  The various disclosures included in this Annual Report and in our other filings made with the Securities and Exchange Commission (or the SEC) that attempt to advise interested parties of the risks and factors that may affect our business, prospects and results of operations should be carefully reviewed and considered.





PART I

Item 1.                                  Identity of Directors, Senior Management and Advisers
 
Not applicable.
 

Item 2.                                  Offer Statistics and Expected Timetable
 
Not applicable.
 

Item 3.                                  Key Information
 
A.           Selected Financial Data
 
The following table presents, in each case for the periods and as of the dates indicated, our selected consolidated and combined financial and operating data.

The consolidated financial information of the Partnership as of December 31, 2019 and 2018 and for the years ended December 31, 2019, 2018 and 2017 are derived from the audited Consolidated Financial Statements of the Partnership, prepared in accordance with U.S. GAAP, which are included elsewhere in this Annual Report.
 
The following financial information should be read in conjunction with “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects” and our historical Consolidated Financial Statements and the notes thereto included elsewhere in this Annual Report. 
 Year Ended December 31,
 20192018201720162015
 (in thousands except for unit data)
Statement of Operations Data:     
Total operating revenues$299,652  $346,650  $433,102  $441,598  $434,687  
Vessel operating expenses(1)
(60,958) (65,247) (68,278) (59,886) (65,244) 
Voyage and commission expenses(2)
(7,648) (11,222) (9,694) (5,974) (7,724) 
Administrative expenses(13,412) (14,809) (15,210) (8,600) (6,643) 
Other non-operating income4,795  449  922  1,318  —  
Interest income13,278  8,950  7,804  4,295  1,315  
Interest expense(79,791) (80,650) (75,425) (66,938) (61,632) 
(Losses)/gains on derivative instruments
(38,796) 8,106  7,796  (931) (13,730) 
Equity in net earnings of affiliate(3)
4,540  1,190  —  —  —  
Net income21,134  76,548  144,848  185,742  172,683  
Segment Data:
FSRUs Adjusted EBITDA(4)
198,660  235,631  250,235  267,667  252,863  
LNG carriers Adjusted EBITDA(4)
30,474  19,741  89,685  99,471  102,213  
FLNG Adjusted EBITDA(3) (4)
79,708  38,180  —  —  —  
Earnings Per Unit
Basic - Common units$0.08  $0.86  $1.82  $2.44  $2.38  
Diluted - Common units$0.08  $0.86  $1.80  $2.43  $2.38  
Cash distributions declared and paid per common unit in the year1.62  1.962.312.312.30

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 Year Ended December 31,
 20192018201720162015
(in thousands except for fleet and other financial data)
Balance Sheet Data (at end of period):     
Cash and cash equivalents$47,661  $96,648  $246,954  $65,710  $40,686  
Restricted cash and short-term deposits (5)
46,333  31,330  27,306  44,927  56,714  
Non-current restricted cash(5)
135,928  141,114  155,627  117,488  136,559  
Investment in affiliate (6)
193,270  206,180  —  —  —  
Vessels and equipment, net1,369,665  1,535,757  1,588,923  1,652,710  1,730,676  
Vessel under finance lease, net108,433  114,711  105,945  111,186  116,727  
Current portion of Investment in leased vessel, net (7)
2,308  —  —  —  —  
Investment in leased vessel, net (7)
111,829  —  —  —  —  
Total assets2,105,612  2,240,817  2,427,371  2,252,708  2,231,662  
Current portion of long-term debt225,254  75,451  118,850  78,101  118,693  
Current portion of obligation under finance lease1,990  1,564  1,276  787  —  
Long-term debt991,679  1,196,899  1,252,184  1,296,609  1,212,419  
Non-current obligation under finance lease120,789  118,119  126,805  116,964  143,112  
Partners' capital569,463  679,615  771,031  541,506  539,475  
Number of units issued and outstanding:
Series A Preferred units5,520,000  5,520,000  5,520,000  —  —  
Common units69,301,636  69,455,364  69,768,261  64,073,291  45,167,096  
Cash Flow Data: 
Net cash provided by operating activities$152,707  $137,166  $270,430  $259,687  $219,144  
Net cash used in investing activities(6,312) (19,632) (70,426) (107,247) (9,638) 
Net cash used in financing activities(189,288) (272,211) (8,730) (136,308) (239,256) 
Fleet Data: 
Number of FSRUs at end of period (7)
     
Number of LNG carriers at end of period(8)
     
Other Financial Data:     
Average FSRUs daily time charter equivalent earnings (TCE)(9)
$139,173  $171,689  $159,950  $144,501  $144,592  
Average LNG carriers daily time charter equivalent earnings (TCE)(9)
$38,360  $33,575  $80,268  $82,267  $85,753  


(1)Vessel operating expenses are the direct costs associated with operating a vessel, including crew wages, vessel supplies, routine repairs, maintenance, insurance, lubricating oils and management fees.
(2)Majority of the vessels have all operated under time charters during the periods presented. Under a time charter, the charterer pays substantially all of the voyage expenses, which are primarily fuel, port expenses and broker commission.
(3)Represents our net earnings of 50.0% of the common units of Hilli LLC which is equity accounted for within our consolidated statement of operations. However, our equity in net earnings of affiliate is presented in our segment information under the effective share of interest consolidation method. Please see note 6 "Segment Information" in our consolidated financial statements included herein for additional information.
(4)Adjusted EBITDA is the profit measure used in our operating segments, see “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects—A. Operating Results.”
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(5)Restricted cash and short-term deposits consist of bank deposits which i) may only be used to settle certain pre-arranged loans, facilities or lease payments; ii) are variation margins posted for a decline in fair values of certain swaps; iii) represent cash held by our lessor variable interest entity (VIE); and iv) are made in accordance with our contractual obligations under bid or performance guarantees for projects we may enter into, see note 17 "Restricted Cash" in our consolidated financial statements included herein for additional information.
(6)Represents our investment in 50.0% of the common units of Hilli LLC, see note 10 "Investment in Affiliate" in our consolidated financial statements included herein for additional information.
(7)On May 15, 2019, we executed a modification to the Golar Freeze charter agreement which triggered a change in lease classification from an operating lease to a sales-type lease. This classification change resulted in the de-recognition of the vessel asset carrying value and the recognition of investment in the leased vessel, net, in our consolidated balance sheet. For purposes of fleet information, we continue to present the Golar Freeze under our FSRU fleet.
(8)In each of the periods presented, we held a 60% ownership interest in the Golar Mazo and a 100% interest in the other vessels.
(9)Non-GAAP Financial Measure - see definition below:
 
Average daily TCE

It is standard industry practice to measure the revenue performance of a vessel in terms of average daily Time Charter Equivalent (“TCE”). For time charters, this is calculated by dividing the sum of (a) total operating revenue and (b) amount invoiced under sales-type lease, less voyage and commission expenses, by the number of calendar days minus days for scheduled off-hire. Scheduled off-hire days includes days when vessels are in lay-up or undergoing dry dock. Where we are paid a fee to position or reposition a vessel before or after a time charter, this additional revenue, less voyage and commission expenses, is included in the calculation of net time charter revenues. TCE rate is a standard shipping industry performance measure used primarily to compare period-to-period changes in a company’s performance despite changes in the mix of charter types (i.e. spot charters, time charters and bareboat charters) under which the vessels may be employed between the periods. We include average daily TCE, a non-U.S. GAAP measure, as we believe it provides additional meaningful information in conjunction with total operating revenues, the most directly comparable U.S. GAAP measure, because it assists our management in making decisions regarding the deployment and use of our vessels and in evaluating their financial performance. Our calculation of average daily TCE may not be comparable to that reported by other companies. The following table reconciles our total operating revenues by segment to average daily TCE:


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Year Ended December 31,
20192018201720162015
FSRUs Segment
(dollars in thousands, except TCE)

Total operating revenues$240,695  $294,889  $316,599  $322,373  $307,344  
Amount invoiced under sales-type lease (1)
11,500  —  —  —  —  
Voyage and commission expenses(4,467) (7,138) (8,375) (5,049) (5,581) 
247,728  287,751  308,224  317,324  301,763  
Calendar days less scheduled off-hire days1,780  1,676  1,927  2,196  2,087  
Average daily TCE$139,173  $171,689  $159,950  $144,501  $144,592  

 (1) This represents the actual invoiced amounts on the Golar Freeze Charter subsequent to its modification effective from May 15, 2019. As the income generated from the Golar Freeze sales-type lease is not reflected in our previous segment profit measure, we have included amounts invoiced in arriving at our FSRU Adjusted EBITDA, to enable comparability with the rest of our FSRU segment's charters.

Year Ended December 31,
20192018201720162015
LNG Carriers Segment
(dollars in thousands, except TCE)

Total operating revenues$58,957  $51,761  $116,503  $119,225  $127,343  
Voyage and commission expenses(3,181) (4,084) (1,319) (925) (2,144) 
55,776  47,677  115,184  118,300  125,199  
Calendar days less scheduled off-hire days1,454  1,420  1,435  1,438  1,460  
Average daily TCE$38,360  $33,575  $80,268  $82,267  $85,753  




B.           Capitalization and Indebtedness
 
Not applicable.

C.           Reasons for the Offer and Use of Proceeds

 Not applicable.

D.           Risk Factors
Some of the following risks relate principally to the industry in which we operate and to our business in general. Other risks relate principally to the securities market and to ownership of our common and preferred units. The occurrence of any of the events described in this section could significantly and negatively affect our business, financial condition, operating results or cash available for distributions or the trading price of our common and preferred units. The risk factors in this report are grouped into the following categories:
Risks Arising from Our Business Activities
Risks Related to Revenue;
Risks Related to the Hilli;
Risks Related to the Financing of our Business;
Risks Associated with our Operations;
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Risks Related to our Industry;
Risks Related to Industry Regulations;
Risks Related to an Investment in Us; and
Tax Risks.

Risks Arising from Our Business Activities
Risks Related to Revenue
We currently derive all of our revenue from a limited number of customers. The loss of any of our customers would result in a significant loss of revenues and cash flow, if we are unable to re-charter a vessel to another customer for an extended period of time.

Our fleet consists of six FSRUs, four LNG carriers and an interest in the Hilli. We have derived, and believe that we will continue to derive, all of our revenues and cash flow from a limited number of customers. The majority of our charters have fixed terms, but might nevertheless be lost in the event of unanticipated developments such as a customer’s breach. The ability of each of our customers to perform its respective obligations under a charter with us will depend on a number of factors that are beyond our control and may include, among other things, general economic conditions, the condition of the LNG shipping industry, prevailing prices for natural gas and LNG, the impact of COVID-19 and similar pandemics and epidemics and the overall financial condition of the counterparty. We could also lose a customer or the benefits of a charter if:

the customer fails to make charter payments because of its financial inability, disagreements with us or otherwise; or
the customer exercises its right to terminate the charter in certain circumstances, such as:
loss of the vessel or damage to it beyond repair;
defaults of our obligations under the charter, including prolonged periods of off-hire;
in the event of war or hostilities that would significantly disrupt the free trade of the vessel;
requisition by any governmental authority;
with respect to the Golar Winter, upon at least six months written notice at any time after the tenth anniversary of the commencement of the related charter upon payment of a termination fee;
with respect to the Golar Eskimo, having passed the fourth anniversary of the charter commencement date, upon at least twenty three months’ written notice upon payment of a termination fee;
with respect to the Golar Freeze, upon twelve months written notice of a termination not before the third anniversary of the charter commencement date in order to substitute the FSRU for an alternative vessel but only if certain throughput targets have not been achieved. In this event we have a matching right;
or
a prolonged force majeure event affecting the customer, including damage to or destruction of relevant production facilities, war or political unrest that prevents us from performing services for that customer.

If we lose any of our charterers and are unable to re-deploy the related vessel for an extended period of time, we will not receive any revenues from that vessel, but we will be required to pay expenses necessary to maintain the vessel in seaworthy operating condition and to service any associated debt. In addition, it is an event of default under the credit facilities related to all of our vessels if the time charter of any vessel related to any such credit facility is cancelled, rescinded or frustrated and we are unable to secure a suitable replacement charter, post additional security or make certain significant prepayments. Any event of default under our credit facilities would result in acceleration of amounts due thereunder. We will be required to provide additional security or make prepayments under our $800 million credit facility in the event that the charter in respect of the Golar Winter is terminated early and we cannot find an alternative acceptable charter. In addition, under the
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sale and leaseback arrangement in respect of the Golar Eskimo, if the time charter pursuant to which the Golar Eskimo is operating is terminated, the owner of the Golar Eskimo (which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of China Merchants Bank Leasing) will have the right to require us to purchase the vessel from it unless we are able to place such vessel under a suitable replacement charter within 24 months of the termination. We may not have, or be able to obtain, sufficient funds to make these accelerated payments or prepayments or be able to purchase the Golar Eskimo. In such a situation, the loss of a charterer could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition and ability to make cash distributions to our unitholders.

Our growth depends on our ability to expand relationships with existing customers and obtain new customers, for which we will face substantial competition.

One of our principal objectives is to enter into long-term FSRU and LNG carrier time charters for our vessels. The process of obtaining long-term charters for FSRUs and LNG carriers is highly competitive and generally involves an intensive screening process and competitive bids, and often extends for several months. We believe FSRU and LNG carrier time charters are awarded based upon bid price as well as a variety of factors relating to the vessel operator, including:

its FSRU and LNG shipping experience, technical ability and reputation for operation of highly specialized vessels;
its shipping industry relationships and reputation for customer service and safety;
the quality and experience of its seafaring crew;
its financial stability and ability to finance FSRUs and LNG carriers at competitive rates;
its relationships with shipyards and construction management experience; and
its willingness to accept operational risks pursuant to the charter.

We and Golar have substantial competition for providing FSRU and marine transportation services for potential LNG projects from a number of experienced companies, including state-sponsored entities and major energy companies. Many of these competitors have significantly greater financial resources and larger and more versatile fleets than do we or Golar. We anticipate that an increasing number of marine transportation companies, including many with strong reputations and extensive resources and experience will enter the FSRU market and the LNG transportation market. This increased competition may cause greater price competition for time charters. As a result of these factors, we may be unable to expand our relationships with existing customers or to obtain new customers on a favorable basis, if at all, which would have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition and our ability to make cash distributions.
Our future long-term charter revenue depends on our competitive position and future hire rates for FSRUs and LNG carriers.

One of our principal strategies is to enter into new long-term FSRU and LNG carrier time charters and to replace expiring charters with similarly long-term contracts. Most requirements for new LNG projects continue to be provided on a long-term basis, though the level of spot voyages and short-term time charters of less than 12 months in duration together with medium term charters of up to five years has increased in recent years. This trend is expected to continue as the spot market for LNG expands. More frequent changes to vessel sizes and propulsion technology together with an increasing desire by charterers to access modern tonnage could also reduce the appetite of charterers to commit to long-term charters that match their full requirement period. As a result, the duration of long-term charters could also decrease over time.

We may also face increased difficulty entering into long-term time charters upon the expiration or early termination of our existing contracts or of contracts for any vessels that we acquire in the future. If as a result we contract our vessels on short-term contracts, our earnings from these vessels are likely to become more volatile. An increasing emphasis on the short-term or spot LNG market may in the future require that we enter into charters based on variable market prices, as opposed to contracts based on a fixed rate, which could result in a decrease in our cash flow in periods when the market price for shipping LNG is depressed or insufficient funds are available to cover our financing costs for related vessels.

Hire rates for FSRUs and LNG carriers may fluctuate substantially. If rates are lower when we are seeking a new charter, our earnings and ability to make distributions to our unitholders may decline.

Hire rates for FSRUs and LNG carriers fluctuate over time as a result of changes in the supply-demand balance relating to current and future FSRU and LNG carrier capacity. This supply-demand relationship largely depends on a number of factors outside our control. For example, driven in part by an increase in LNG production capacity, the market supply
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particularly of LNG carriers has been increasing as a result of the construction of new vessels. The development of liquefaction projects in the United States and Australia resulted in significant ordering activity from 2011 to 2014 and 2018 to 2019. As of April 16, 2020, the LNG carrier order book totalled 149 vessels. We believe that this and any future expansion of the global LNG carrier fleet may have a negative impact on charter hire rates, vessel utilization and vessel values, the impact of which could be amplified if the expansion of LNG production capacity does not keep pace with fleet growth. The LNG market is also closely connected to world natural gas prices and energy markets, which we cannot predict. A substantial or extended decline in demand for natural gas or LNG, including as a result of the spread of COVID-19, could adversely affect our ability to charter or re-charter our vessels at acceptable rates or to acquire and profitably operate new vessels. Accordingly, this could have a material adverse effect on our earnings and our ability to make distributions to our unitholders.

The charterers of two of our vessels have the option to extend the charter at a rate lower than the existing hire rate. The exercise of these options could have a material adverse effect on our cash flow and our ability to make distributions to our unitholders.

The charterers of the NR Satu and Methane Princess have options to extend their respective existing contracts. If they exercise these options, the hire rate for the NR Satu will be reduced by approximately 12% per day for any day in the extension period falling in 2023, with a further 7% reduction for any day in the extension period falling in 2024 and 2025; and the hire rate for the Methane Princess will be reduced by 37% from 2024. The exercise of these options could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, cash flows and ability to make distributions to our unitholders.

Risks Related to the Hilli

Our equity investment in Golar Hilli LLC may not result in anticipated profitability or generate cash flow sufficient to justify our investment. In addition, our investment exposes us to risks that may harm our business, financial condition and operating results.

In July 2018, we completed our acquisition of 50% of the common units in Golar Hilli LLC (“Hilli LLC”), the owner of Golar Hilli Corporation (“Hilli Corp”), the disponent owner of the Hilli. The acquired interest in Hilli LLC represents the equivalent of 50% of the two liquefaction trains, out of a total of four, that have been contracted to Perenco Cameroon SA (“Perenco”) and Société Nationale Des Hydrocarbures (“SNH” and, together with Perenco, the “Customer”) pursuant to a Liquefaction Tolling Agreement (“LTA”) with an 8 year term. The acquired interest is not exposed to the oil linked pricing elements of the tolling fee under the LTA. However, it exposes us to risks that we may:

fail to realize anticipated benefits through cash distributions from Hilli LLC;
fail to obtain the benefits of the LTA if the Customer exercises certain rights to terminate the charter upon the occurrence of specified events of default;
fail to obtain the benefits of the LTA if the Customer fails to make payments under the LTA because of its financial inability, disagreements with us or otherwise;
incur or assume unanticipated liabilities, losses or costs;
be required to pay damages to the Customer or suffer a reduction in the tolling fee in the event that the Hilli fails to perform to certain specifications;
incur other significant charges, such as asset devaluation or restructuring charges; or
be unable to re-charter the FLNG on another long-term charter at the end of the LTA.

Due to the sophisticated technology utilized by the Hilli, operations are subject to risks that could negatively affect our business and financial condition.

FLNG vessels are complex and their operations are technically challenging and subject to mechanical risks and problems. Unforeseen operational problems with the Hilli may lead to Hilli LLC experiencing a loss of revenue or higher than anticipated operating expenses or require additional capital expenditures. Any of these results could harm our business, financial condition and ability to make cash distributions to our unitholders.

We guarantee 50% of Hilli Corp’s indebtedness under the Hilli Facility.

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Hilli Corp, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hilli LLC, is a party to a Memorandum of Agreement, dated September 9, 2015, with Fortune Lianjiang Shipping S.A., a subsidiary of China State Shipbuilding Corporation (“Fortune”), pursuant to which Hilli Corp has sold to and leased back from Fortune the Hilli under a 10-year bareboat charter agreement (the “Hilli Facility”). The Hilli Facility provided for post-construction financing for the Hilli in the amount of $960 million.
 
In connection with the closing of the Hilli Acquisition, we agreed to provide a several guarantee (the “Partnership Guarantee”) of 50% of the obligations of Hilli Corp under the Hilli Facility pursuant to a Deed of Amendment, Restatement and Accession relating to a guarantee between Golar, Fortune and us dated July 12, 2018. In the event that Hilli Corp fails to meet its payment obligations under the Hilli Facility or fails to comply with certain other covenants contained therein, we may be required to make payments to Fortune under the Partnership Guarantee, and such payments may be substantial.  The Hilli Facility and the Partnership Guarantee contain certain financial restrictions and other covenants that may restrict our business and financing activities as well as our ability to make cash distributions to our unitholders.

If the letter of credit related to the LTA is not extended, the earnings and financial condition of Hilli Corp could suffer.

Pursuant to the terms of the LTA, Golar obtained a letter of credit (the “Hilli LOC”) issued by a financial institution that guarantees certain payments Hilli Corp is required to make under the LTA. The Hilli LOC is required to exist until the tenth anniversary of the acceptance of the Hilli and is for credit support in respect of Hilli Corp’s performance under the LTA. Under the current terms of the Hilli LOC, the financial institution is not obliged to extend the term of the Hilli LOC. In December 2018, the letter of credit was extended to apply until December 31, 2019, but additional security was required from the owners of Hilli Corp by the financial institution. This required us to provide a guarantee for the Hilli LOC (the "LOC Guarantee"). Should the financial institution make a payment for a legitimate claim against the Hilli LOC, our liability pursuant to the LOC Guarantee will be dependent on Golar's percentage ownership interest in us multiplied by the percentage of common units we hold in Hilli LLC.

In December 2019, the letter of credit was extended until December 31, 2020. The financial institution may elect to not extend the Hilli LOC by giving notice at least ninety days prior to the current December 31, 2020 expiration date or December 31 in any subsequent year. If the letter of credit (i) ceases to be in effect or (ii) the financial institution elects to not extend it, unless additional replacement security for payment is provided within a certain time, then the LTA may be terminated and Hilli Corp may be liable for a termination fee of up to $125 million. Accordingly, if the financial institution elects at some point in the future to not extend the Hilli LOC, Hilli Corp's financial condition could be materially and adversely affected.

Risks Related to the Financing of our Business
We may not be able to obtain financing, to meet our obligations as they fall due or to fund our growth or our future capital expenditures, which could negatively impact our results of operations, financial condition and ability to pay distributions.

In order to fund future vessel acquisitions, increased working capital levels or other capital expenditures, we may be required to use cash from operations, incur additional borrowings, or raise capital through the sale of debt or additional equity securities. Our ability to do so may be limited by our financial condition at the time of such financing or offering, as well as by adverse market conditions resulting from, among other things, general economic conditions and contingencies and uncertainties that are beyond our control. In addition, our use of cash from operations may reduce the amount of cash available for distributions. Our failure to obtain funds for future capital expenditures could impact our results of operations, financial condition and our ability to pay distributions. Furthermore, our ability to access capital, overall economic conditions and our ability to secure charters on a timely basis could limit our ability to fund our growth and capital expenditures or to refinance our debt as it falls due. If we are successful in issuing equity in order to raise capital, the issuance of additional equity securities may result in significant unitholder dilution and increase the amount of cash required to make commensurate distributions. Even if we are successful in obtaining bank financing, paying debt service would limit cash available for working capital and increasing our indebtedness could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, cash flows, financial condition and ability to pay distributions.

Recently, as a result of concerns about the stability of financial markets generally, and the solvency of counterparties specifically, stemming from the COVID-19 outbreak, the availability and cost of obtaining money from the public and private equity and debt markets has become more difficult. Many lenders have increased interest rates, enacted tighter lending standards, refused to refinance existing debt at all or on terms similar to current debt, and reduced, and in some cases ceased, to provide funding to borrowers and other market participants, including equity and debt investors, and some have been unwilling to invest on attractive terms or even at all. Due to these factors, we cannot be certain that financing will be available if needed
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and to the extent required, or that we will be able to refinance our existing and future credit facilities, on acceptable terms or at all.

Our ability to obtain additional debt financing for future vessel acquisitions or to refinance our existing debt largely depends on the creditworthiness of our charterers, the terms of our charters, the value of our vessels as well as global economic conditions and demand for energy, including LNG.

Our ability to borrow against the vessels in our existing fleet and any future vessels largely depends on the value of the vessels, and also, in part on charter hire rates and the ability of our charterers to comply with the terms of their charters. The actual or perceived credit quality of our charterers, and any defaults by them, may materially affect our ability to obtain the additional capital resources that will be required to purchase additional vessels and to refinance our existing debt as balloon payments come due, or may significantly increase our costs of obtaining such capital.

The recent COVID-19 outbreak has negatively impacted, and may continue to negatively impact, global economic activity, energy prices, demand for energy, including LNG and LNG shipping, and funds flows and sentiment in the global financial markets. Credit markets and the debt and equity capital markets have been distressed and the uncertainty surrounding the future of the global credit markets has resulted in reduced access to credit worldwide. These issues, along with significant write-offs in the financial services sector, the re-pricing of credit risk and the current weak economic conditions, have made, and will likely continue to make, it difficult to obtain additional financing. In particular, due to the COVID-19 outbreak, we were unable to refinance our 2015 Norwegian Bonds maturing in May 2020 (the “2015 Norwegian Bonds”) and 2017 Norwegian Bonds maturing in May 2021 (the “2017 Norwegian Bonds”) and were required to seek extensions and amendments to the terms of both bond issuances. Continued economic disruption caused by the continued failure to control the spread of the COVID-19 could significantly impact our ability to obtain additional debt financing, including permanent refinancing for the 2015 Norwegian Bonds and the 2017 Norwegian Bonds and the refinancing of our $800 million credit facility, which matures in April 2021. Our inability to obtain additional financing or committing to financing on unattractive terms could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows, including cash available for distributions to our unitholders.

Our debt levels may limit our flexibility in obtaining additional financing, pursuing other business opportunities and paying distributions to unitholders.

As of December 31, 2019 our total consolidated debt (excluding our $422.3 million share of debt in respect of Hilli but including capitalized lease obligations, net of restricted cash, and our indebtedness outstanding under our revolving credit facilities) was $1,198.0 million. Our level of debt could have important consequences to us, including the following:

our ability to obtain additional financing, if necessary, for working capital, capital expenditures, acquisitions or other purposes may be limited or such financing may not be available on favorable terms;
we will need a substantial portion of our cash flow to make principal and interest payments on our debt, reducing the funds that would otherwise be available for operations, future business opportunities and distributions to unitholders;
our debt level will make us more vulnerable than our competitors with less debt to competitive pressures or a downturn in our business or the economy generally; and
our debt level may limit our flexibility in responding to changing business and economic conditions.

Our ability to service our debt will depend upon, among other things, our future financial and operating performance, which will be affected by prevailing economic conditions and financial, business, regulatory and other factors, some of which are beyond our control. If our operating results are not sufficient to service our current or future indebtedness, we will be forced to take actions such as reducing distributions, reducing or delaying our business activities, acquisitions, investments or capital expenditures, selling assets, restructuring or refinancing our debt, or seeking additional equity capital or bankruptcy protection. We may not be able to effect any of these remedies on satisfactory terms, or at all.
Our financing arrangements, most of which are secured by our vessels, contain operating and financial restrictions and other covenants that may restrict our business and financing activities as well as our ability to make cash distributions to our unitholders. In addition, because of the presence of cross-default provisions in certain of our and Golar's financing agreements that cover both us and Golar, a default by us or Golar could lead to multiple defaults in our agreements.

The operating and financial restrictions and covenants in the agreements governing our financing arrangements, including our credit facilities, our 2015 and 2017 Norwegian Bonds, and the Methane Princess lease, and any future financing agreements, could adversely affect our ability to finance future operations or capital needs or to engage, expand or pursue our
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business activities. For example, our financing arrangements impose restrictions and covenants that restrict our and our subsidiaries’ ability to, among other things:
merge or consolidate with any other person;
make certain capital expenditures;
pay distributions to our unitholders;
terminate or materially amend certain of our charters;
enter into any other line of business;
make any acquisitions;
incur additional indebtedness or grant any liens to secure any of our existing or future indebtedness;
enter into any sale-leaseback transactions; or
enter into any transactions with our affiliates.

Accordingly, we may need to seek consent from our lenders or lessors in order to take certain actions or engage in certain activities. The interests of our lenders or lessor may be different from ours, and we may be unable to obtain our lenders’ or lessor’s consent when and if needed.
If we do not comply with the restrictions and covenants in our financing arrangements, our business, results of operations, financial condition and ability to pay distributions will be adversely affected. Our ability to comply with covenants and restrictions contained in our financing arrangements may be affected by events beyond our control, including prevailing economic, financial and industry conditions. If market or other economic conditions deteriorate, including as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak and the recent declines in the prices of oil, natural gas and LNG and related interest rate developments, changes in the funding costs of our banks, changes in vessel earnings and asset valuations that may occur as a result, our ability to comply with these covenants may be impaired. We cannot assure you that we will satisfy the ratios and other covenants or that our lenders will waive any failure to do so. If restrictions, covenants, ratios or tests in our debt instruments are breached, a significant portion of the obligations may become immediately due and payable, and the lenders’ commitment to make further loans may terminate. We may not have, or be able to obtain, sufficient funds to make these accelerated payments. In addition, obligations under certain of our financing arrangements are secured by certain of our vessels and guaranteed by our subsidiaries holding the interests in our vessels, and if we are unable to repay debt under our financing arrangements, the lenders or lessors could seek to foreclose on those assets.

Moreover, in connection with any waivers and/or amendments to our loan and lease agreements, our lenders may impose additional operating and financial restrictions on us and/or modify the terms of our existing loan and lease agreements.
Because of the presence of cross-default provisions in certain of our and Golar’s loan and lease agreements that cover both us and Golar, a default by us or Golar under a loan or lease agreement and the refusal of any one lender or lessor to grant or extend a waiver could result in the acceleration of our indebtedness under our other loan and lease agreements even if our or Golar's other lenders or lessors have waived covenant defaults under the respective agreements. A cross-default provision means that if we or Golar default on one loan or lease, we would then default on our other loans containing a cross-default provision.
For more information, regarding our financing arrangements, please read “Item 5—Operating and Financial Review and Prospects—F. Tabular Disclosure of Contractual Obligations” and Note 21 “Debt” to our consolidated financial statements.
We are exposed to volatility in the London Interbank Offered Rate, (“LIBOR”), and the derivative contracts we have entered into to hedge our exposure to fluctuations in interest rates could result in higher than market interest rates and charges against our income.

LIBOR has historically been volatile, with the spread between LIBOR and the prime lending rate widening significantly at times. These conditions are the result of the disruptions in the international credit markets. Because the interest rates borne by our outstanding indebtedness fluctuate with changes in LIBOR, if this volatility were to occur, it would affect the amount of interest payable on our debt, which in turn, could have an adverse effect on our profitability, earnings and cash flow.
In addition, LIBOR and other ‘‘benchmark’’ rates are subject to ongoing national and international regulatory scrutiny and reform. For example, on July 27, 2017, the UK Financial Conduct Authority announced that it will no longer persuade or compel banks to submit rates for the calculation of the LIBOR rates after 2021 (the ‘‘FCA Announcement’’). The Alternative
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Reference Rate Committee, a committee convened by the Federal Reserve that includes major market participants, has proposed an alternative rate to replace U.S. Dollar LIBOR: the Secured Overnight Financing Rate, or “SOFR.” We are unable to predict the effect of the FCA Announcement or other reforms, whether currently enacted or enacted in the future. They may result in the phasing out of LIBOR as a reference rate. The impact of such transition away from LIBOR could be significant for us because of our substantial indebtedness. The outcome of reforms may result in increased interest expense to us, may affect our ability to incur debt on terms acceptable to us and may result in increased costs related to amending our existing debt instruments, which could adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition.
In the event of the continued or permanent unavailability of LIBOR, certain of ours and our VIE’s current financing agreements contain a provision requiring or permitting us to enter into negotiations with our lenders to agree to an alternative interest rate or an alternative basis for determining the interest rate. These clauses present significant uncertainties as to how alternative rates or alternative bases for determination of rates would be agreed upon, as well as the potential for disputes or litigation with our lenders regarding the appropriateness or comparability to LIBOR of any substitute indices. In the absence of an agreement between us and our lenders, most of our financing agreements provide that LIBOR would be replaced with some variation of the lenders’ cost-of-funds rate. The discontinuation of LIBOR presents a number of risks to our business, including volatility in applicable interest rates among our financing agreements, increased lending costs for future financing agreements or unavailability of or difficulty in attaining financing, which could in turn have an adverse effect on our profitability, earnings and cash flow.
As of December 31, 2019, we had a total debt of $1,768.0 million (including our $422.3 million share of debt in respect of the Hilli, capitalized lease obligations and our indebtedness outstanding under our revolving credit facilities), which is exposed to a floating interest rate based on LIBOR, which has been volatile recently and could affect the amount of interest payable on our debt. In order to manage our exposure to interest rate fluctuations, we use interest rate swaps to effectively fix a part of our floating rate debt obligations. As of December 31, 2019, we have interest rate swaps with a notional amount of $1,557.8 million representing 88.1% of our total floating rate debt. While we are economically hedged, we do not apply hedge accounting and therefore interest rate swaps mark-to-market valuations may adversely affect our results. Entering into swap and derivative transactions are inherently risky and presents various possibilities for incurring significant expenses. The derivative strategies that we employ currently and in the future may not be successful or effective, and we could, as a result, incur substantial additional interest costs or losses.
Our financial condition could be materially adversely affected to the extent we do not hedge our exposure to interest rate fluctuations under loans that have been advanced at a floating rate. Any hedging activities we engage in may not effectively manage our interest rate exposure or have the desired impact on our financial condition or results of operations.
Our consolidated variable interest entity, (“VIE”), may enter into different financing arrangements, which could affect our financial results.

In November 2015, we entered into a sale and leaseback transaction with a subsidiary, Sea 23 Leasing Co. Limited (or “Eskimo SPV”) of China Merchants Bank Leasing (or “CMBL”). Eskimo SPV was determined to be a VIE of which we are deemed to be the primary beneficiary, and as a result we are required to consolidate the results of Eskimo SPV. Although consolidated into our results, we have no control over the funding arrangements negotiated by Eskimo SPV such as interest rates, maturity, and repayment profiles. For additional detail refer to note 5 “Variable Interest Entities” to our consolidated financial statements. As of December 31, 2019, we consolidated one VIE in connection with the lease financing of the Golar Eskimo. For a description of our current financing arrangements including those of the VIE, please read “Item 5—Operating and Financial Review and Prospects—F. Tabular Disclosure of Contractual Obligations.” The funding arrangements negotiated by the VIE could adversely affect our financial results.

Even though the Golar Tundra has been sold back to Golar, we are a deficiency guarantor of Tundra Corp’s obligations under the Tundra Lease and may be liable for hire payments thereunder.

In November 2015, prior to our acquisition (the “Tundra Acquisition”) from Golar of Tundra Corp. (“Tundra Corp”), the owner of the Golar Tundra, Tundra Corp sold the Golar Tundra to a subsidiary of CMBL (or the "Tundra SPV") for $254.6 million and subsequently leased back the vessel under a bareboat charter (the "Tundra Lease"). Following our sale of Tundra Corp to Golar, Golar is the primary guarantor of the obligations of Tundra Corp (now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Golar) under the Tundra Lease. In the event that Tundra Corp is in default of its obligations under the Tundra Lease and Golar, as the primary guarantor, is unable to settle any liabilities due within five business days, Tundra SPV may recover such amounts from us, as the deficiency guarantor. Monthly payments under the Tundra Lease are approximately $2.0 million. Golar has agreed to indemnify us for any costs incurred in our capacity as the deficiency guarantor. In the event Golar is unable to satisfy its
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obligations as primary guarantor under the Tundra Lease, it will be unlikely to be able to satisfy its obligations to us under this indemnification and we could be liable for all payments due under the Tundra Lease.
One of our vessels is currently financed by a UK tax lease, and other vessels previously were financed by UK tax leases. In the event of any adverse tax changes or a successful challenge by the UK revenue authorities with regard to the initial tax basis of the transactions or in the event of an early termination of the leases, we may be required to make additional payments to the UK vessel lessor, which could adversely affect our earnings and financial condition.

As of April 16, 2020, we have one UK tax lease (relating to the Methane Princess). Under the terms of the leasing arrangement, the benefits are derived primarily from the tax depreciation assumed to be available to the lessor as a result of its investment in the vessel. As is typical in these leasing arrangements, as the lessee, we are obligated to maintain the lessor’s after-tax margin. Accordingly, in the event of any adverse changes to tax legislation affecting the tax treatment of the lease for the UK vessel lessor or a successful challenge by the UK tax authorities (“HMRC”) with regard to the tax assumptions on which the transaction was based, or in the event of an early termination of the Methane Princess lease we may be required to make additional payments principally to the UK vessel lessor. We would be required to return all, or a portion of, or in certain circumstances significantly more than the upfront cash benefits that Golar received or that have accrued over time, together with fees that were financed in connection with the lease financing transactions. Furthermore, the lessor of the Methane Princess has a second priority security interest in the Methane Princess, the Golar Spirit and the Golar Grand. Our obligation to the lessor under the Methane Princess Lease is secured by a letter of credit (“LC”) provided by other banks. Details of the security deposit provided by us to the bank providing the LC are given in Note 17 “Restricted Cash” to our consolidated financial statements.

HMRC has been challenging the use of similar lease structures and has been engaged in litigation of a test case for some years. In August 2015, following an appeal to the Court of Appeal by the HMRC which set aside previous judgments in favor of the taxpayer, the First Tier Tribunal (“UK court”) ruled in favor of HMRC. The judgments of the First Tier Tribunal do not create binding precedent for other UK court decisions and therefore the ruling in favor of HMRC is not binding in the context of our leases. HMRC has written to our lessor to indicate that they believe the Methane Princess lease may be similar to the lease in the case noted above. We have reviewed the details of the case and the basis of the judgment with our legal and tax advisers to ascertain what impact, if any, the judgment may have on us and the possible range of exposure has been estimated at approximately $nil to $32 million (£24.0 million). Golar’s discussions with HMRC on this matter have concluded without agreement and, in January 2020 Golar received a closure notice to the inquiry stating the basis of HMRC’s position. In December 2019, in conjunction with the lessor, Golar obtained supplementary legal advice confirming our position, and consequently a notice of appeal against the closure notice was submitted to HMRC. Given the complexity of these discussions, it is impossible to quantify the reasonably possible loss, and we continue to estimate the possible range of exposures as set out above. However, under the indemnity provisions of the omnibus agreement (the “Omnibus Agreement”) we entered into with Golar at the time of our initial public offering (“IPO"), Golar has agreed to indemnify us against any liabilities incurred as a consequence of a successful challenge by the HMRC with regard to the initial tax basis of the Methane Princess lease and in relation to other vessels previously financed by UK tax leases. Any default by Golar pursuant to its indemnification obligations under the Omnibus Agreement would not limit our obligations under this lease. Any additional payments could adversely affect our earnings and financial position. For more information on the UK tax lease, please read “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects—F. Tabular Disclosure of Contractual Obligations” and Note 26 “Other Commitments and Contingencies” to our consolidated financial statements.
We can borrow money to pay distributions, which would reduce the amount of credit available to operate our business.

Our partnership agreement allows us to make working capital borrowings to pay distributions. Accordingly, if we have available borrowing capacity, we can make distributions on all our units even though cash generated by our operations may not be sufficient to pay such distributions. Any working capital borrowings by us to make distributions will reduce the amount of working capital borrowings available for operating our business.
Risks Associated with our Operations

Outbreaks of epidemic and pandemic diseases and governmental responses thereto could adversely affect our business.

Our operations are subject to risks related to outbreaks of infectious diseases. In December 2019, COVID-19 a virus causing potentially deadly respiratory tract infections was first reported in Wuhan, China. On January 30 2020, the World Health Organization declared that COVID-19 constitutes a "Public Health Emergency of International Concern" and subsequently on March 11, 2020, declared COVID-19 to be a "Pandemic". Many countries worldwide, affected by the
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outbreak, declared national emergencies due to the outbreak. The COVID-19 outbreak has also negatively affected the economic conditions and energy prices have fallen significantly. The COVID-19 outbreak has also negatively affected the supply chain, the labor market, the demand for LNG and LNG shipping regionally as well as globally and may otherwise impact our operations and the operations of our customers and suppliers. Governments in affected countries have been imposing and may continue to impose travel bans, quarantines and other emergency public health measures. These measures, though temporary in nature, may continue and increase as countries attempt to contain the outbreak. As a result of these measures, our vessels may not be able to call on ports and vessels and crews may be restricted from embarking and disembarking from ports located in regions affected by COVID-19.

The extent of the COVID-19 outbreak’s effect on our operational and financial performance will depend on future developments, including the duration, spread and intensity of the outbreak, all of which are uncertain and difficult to predict considering the rapidly evolving landscape. Trading prices of our units have recently declined significantly and may continue to decline, due in part to the impact of COVID-19. Failure to control the continued spread of COVID-19 could significantly impact economic activity and demand for our vessels, which could further negatively affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash available for distribution which may result in further decline in our unit prices. However, to date our operations have been impacted primarily by the cancellation and/or delays of crew changes on our vessels and postponement of equipment maintenance and various inspections. See “Item 5 – Operating and Financial Review and Prospects – Factors Affecting Our Results of Operations and Future Results.”

Potential worker shortages due to the COVID-19 outbreak and travel and social distancing restrictions imposed by governments or corporate policies could impose constraints on our ability to comply with deadlines and requirements set forth in environmental laws and regulations, including inspection, monitoring, reporting, certification, and training requirements. Although some environmental authorities have indicated they may exercise enforcement discretion with respect to non-compliance with routine obligations caused by COVID-19, there can be no assurance that enforcement discretion will be exercised in the event we are unable to comply with environmental laws and regulations.

Our information technology systems are subject to cybersecurity risks and threats.

We rely on information technology systems and networks, the majority of which are provided by Golar Management, to conduct our operations, administer our business, collect payments from customers and to pay agents, vendors and employees. Our data protection measures and measures taken by our customers, agents and vendors may not prevent unauthorized access of information technology systems. Threats to our information technology systems and the systems of our customers, agents and vendors associated with cybersecurity risks or attacks continue to grow. Threats to our systems and our customers’, agents’ and vendors’ systems may derive from human error, fraud or malice or may be the result of accidental technological failure. Our business operations could also be targeted by individuals or groups seeking to sabotage or disrupt our information technology systems and networks, or to steal data. A successful cyberattack could materially disrupt our operations, including the safety of our operations and the availability of our vessels and facilities, or lead to unauthorized release of information or alteration of information in our systems. In addition, breaches to our systems and systems of our customers, agents and vendors could go unnoticed for some period of time. Any such attack or other breach of our information technology systems, or failure to effectively comply with applicable laws and regulations concerning privacy, data protection and information security, could have a material adverse effect on our business and results of operations.
We are subject to laws, directives, and regulations relating to the collection, use, retention, disclosure, security and transfer of personal data. These laws, directives, and regulations, and their interpretation and enforcement continue to evolve and may be inconsistent from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. For example, the General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”), which regulates the use of personally identifiable information, went into effect in the European Union (“EU”) on May 25, 2018 and applies globally to all of our activities conducted from an establishment in the EU, to related products and services that we offer to EU customers and to non-EU customers which offer services in the EU. The GDPR requires organizations to report on data breaches within 72 hours and be bound by more stringent rules for obtaining the consent of individuals on how their data can be used. Complying with the GDPR and similar emerging and changing privacy and data protection requirements may cause us to incur substantial costs or require us to change our business practices. Noncompliance with our legal obligations relating to privacy and data protection could result in penalties, fines, legal proceedings by governmental entities or others, loss of reputation, legal claims by individuals and customers and significant legal and financial exposure and could affect our ability to retain and attract customers.
Changes in the nature of cyber-threats and/or changes to industry standards and regulations might require us to adopt additional procedures for monitoring cybersecurity, which could require additional expenses and/or capital expenditures. However, the impact of such regulations is hard to predict at this time.

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The operation of FSRUs, FLNGs and LNG carriers is inherently risky, and our vessels face a number of industry risks and events which could cause damage or loss of a vessel, loss of life or environmental consequences that could harm our reputation and ongoing business operations.

Our vessels and their cargoes are at risk of being damaged or lost because of events such as marine disasters, acts of piracy, environmental accidents, bad weather, mechanical failures, grounding, fire, explosions and collisions, human error, national emergency and war and terrorism. Incidents such as these have historically effected companies in our industry, and such an event or accident involving any of our vessels could result in any of the following:

death or injury to persons, loss of property or damage to the environment or natural resources;
delays in the delivery of cargo;
loss of revenues from or termination of charter contracts;
governmental fines, penalties or restrictions on conducting business;
A government requisitioning for title or seizing our vessels (e.g. in a time of war or national emergency)
higher insurance rates; and
damage to our reputation and customer relationships generally.

Any of these circumstances or events could increase our costs or lower our revenues. In particular:
Although we carry insurance, all risks may not be adequately insured against, and any particular claim may not be paid. Any claims covered by insurance would be subject to deductibles, and since it is possible that a large number of claims may be brought, the aggregate amount of these deductibles could be material.

If piracy attacks or military action results in regions in which our vessels are deployed being characterized as “war risk” zones by insurers or Joint War Committee “war and strikes” listed areas, premiums payable for such coverage could increase significantly and such insurance coverage may be more difficult to obtain.

Certain of our insurance coverage is maintained through mutual protection and indemnity associations and, as a member of such associations, we may be required to make additional payments over and above budgeted premiums if member claims exceed association reserves.

If our vessels suffer damage, they may need to be repaired. The costs of vessel repairs are unpredictable and can be substantial. We may have to pay repair costs that our insurance policies do not cover. The loss of earnings while these vessels are being repaired, as well as the actual cost of these repairs, would decrease our results of operations.

If one of our vessels were involved in an accident with the potential risk of environmental damages, the resulting media coverage could have a material adverse effect on our business, our results of operations and cash flows, weaken our financial condition and negatively affect our ability to pay distributions.


We may experience operational problems with our vessels that reduce revenue and increase costs.

FSRUs and LNG carriers are complex and their operations are technically challenging. Marine LNG operations are subject to mechanical risks and problems. Our operating expenses depend on a variety of factors including crew costs, provisions, deck and engine stores and spares, lubricating oil, insurance, maintenance and repairs and shipyard costs, many of which are beyond our control such as the overall economic impacts caused by the global COVID-19 outbreak and affect the entire shipping industry. Factors such as increased cost of qualified and experienced seafaring crew and changes in regulatory requirements could also increase operating expenditures. Although we continue to take measures to improve operational efficiencies and mitigate the impact of inflation and price escalations, future increases to operational costs are likely to occur. If costs rise, they could materially and adversely affect our results of operations. In addition, operational problems may lead to loss of revenue or higher than anticipated operating expenses or require additional capital expenditures. Any of these results could harm our business, financial condition, results of operations and ability to make cash distributions to our unitholders.
In years when estimated maintenance and replacement capital expenditures are higher than actual maintenance and replacement capital expenditures, the amount of cash available for distribution to unitholders will be lower and we may
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have less cash available for distribution as the actual maintenance and replacement capital expenditures are deducted from operating surplus.

We must make substantial capital expenditures to maintain and replace, over the long-term, the operating capacity of our fleet. Maintenance and replacement capital expenditures include capital expenditures associated with drydocking a vessel, modifying an existing vessel, acquiring a new vessel, or otherwise replacing current vessels at the end of their useful lives to the extent these expenditures are incurred to maintain or replace the operating capacity of our fleet. These expenditures could vary significantly from period to period and could increase as a result of changes in:

the cost of labor and materials;
customer requirements;
fleet size;
the cost of replacement vessels;
length of charters;
governmental regulations and maritime self-regulatory organization standards relating to safety, security or the environment; and
competitive standards.

Additionally, in most cases drydocking and other maintenance results in loss of revenue while our vessels are off-hire. Any significant increase in the number of days off-hire due to such drydocking or in the costs of any repairs could have a material adverse effect on our ability to pay distributions to our unitholders. Although we do not anticipate multiple vessels being out of service at any given time, we may underestimate the time required to drydock any of our vessels or unanticipated problems may arise.
Our partnership agreement requires our board of directors to deduct estimated maintenance and replacement capital expenditures, instead of actual maintenance and replacement capital expenditures, from operating surplus each quarter in an effort to reduce fluctuations in operating surplus as a result of significant variations in actual maintenance and replacement capital expenditures each quarter. The amount of estimated maintenance and replacement capital expenditures deducted from operating surplus is subject to review and change by the conflicts committee of our board of directors at least once a year. In years when estimated maintenance and replacement capital expenditures are higher than actual maintenance and replacement capital expenditures, the amount of cash available for distribution to unitholders will be lower than if actual maintenance and replacement capital expenditures were deducted from operating surplus. If our board of directors underestimates the appropriate level of estimated maintenance and replacement capital expenditures, we may have less cash available for distribution in periods when actual capital expenditures exceed our previous estimates.
We may be unable to obtain, maintain, and/or renew permits necessary for our operations or experience delays in obtaining such permits, which could have a material effect on our operations.

The design, construction and operation of FSRUs, FLNGs and LNG carriers and interconnecting pipelines require, and are subject to the terms of governmental approvals and permits. The permitting rules, and the interpretations of those rules, are complex, change frequently and are often subject to discretionary interpretations by regulators, all of which may make compliance more difficult or impractical, and may increase the length of time it takes to receive regulatory approval for offshore LNG operations. In the future, the relevant regulatory authorities may take actions to restrict or prohibit the access of FSRUs or LNG carriers to various ports or adopt new rules and regulations applicable to FSRUs and LNG carriers that will increase the time needed or affect our ability to obtain necessary environmental permits. We cannot assure unitholders that such changes would not have a material effect on our operations.
A shortage of qualified officers and crew, including due to disruption caused by the outbreak of pandemic diseases, such as COVID-19, could have an adverse effect on our business and financial condition.

FSRUs, FLNGs and LNG carriers require technically skilled officers and crews with specialized training. As the worldwide FSRU, FLNG and LNG carrier fleet has grown, the demand for technically skilled officers and crews has increased, which could lead to a shortage of such personnel. Increases in our historical vessel operating expenses have been attributable primarily to the rising costs of recruiting and retaining officers for our fleet. If our vessel managers are unable to employ technically skilled staff and crew, they will not be able to adequately staff our vessels. A material decrease in the supply of
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technically skilled officers or an inability of Golar Management or our vessel managers to attract and retain such qualified officers could impair our ability to operate or increase the cost of crewing our vessels, which would materially adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations and significantly reduce our ability to make distributions to our unitholders.

In addition, the Golar Winter is employed by Petrobras in Brazil. As a result, we are required to hire a certain portion of Brazilian personnel to crew this vessel in accordance with Brazilian law. Also, the NR Satu is employed by PT Nusantara Regas ("PTNR"), in Indonesia. As a result, we are required to hire a certain portion of Indonesian personnel to crew the NR Satu in accordance with Indonesian law. Any inability to attract and retain qualified Brazilian and Indonesian crew members could adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition and could significantly reduce our ability to make distributions to our unitholders.

Furthermore, should there be an outbreak of COVID-19 on board one of our vessels, adequate crewing may not be available to fulfill the obligations under our contracts. Due to COVID-19, we could face (i) difficulty in finding healthy qualified replacement officers and crew; (ii) local or international transport or quarantine restrictions limiting the ability to transfer infected crew members off the vessel or bring new crew on board, and (iii) restrictions in availability of supplies needed on board due to disruptions to third-party suppliers or transportation alternatives. Any inability Golar Management experiences in the future to attract, hire, train and retain a sufficient number of qualified employees could impair our ability to manage, maintain and grow our business.

Due to the locations in which we operate, we are subject to political and security risks.

Our operations may be affected by economic, political and governmental conditions in the countries where we are engaged in business or where our vessels are registered. Any disruption caused by these factors could harm our business. In particular:

We derive a substantial portion of our revenues from shipping LNG from politically unstable regions, particularly the Arabian Gulf, Brazil, Indonesia and West Africa. Past political conflicts in certain of these regions have included attacks on vessels, mining of waterways and other efforts to disrupt shipping in the area. In addition to acts of terrorism, vessels trading in these and other regions have also been subject, in limited instances, to piracy. Future hostilities or other political instability in the regions in which we operate or may operate could have a material adverse effect on the growth of our business, results of operations and financial condition and our ability to make cash distributions. In addition, tariffs, trade embargoes and other economic sanctions by the United States or other countries against countries in the Middle East, Southeast Asia, Africa or elsewhere as a result of terrorist attacks, hostilities or otherwise may limit trading activities with those countries, which could also harm our business and ability to make cash distributions

The operations of Hilli Corp in Cameroon under the LTA are subject to higher political and security risks than operations in other areas of the world. Recently, Cameroon has experienced instability in its socio-political environment. Any extreme levels of political instability resulting in changes of governments, internal conflict, unrest and violence, especially from terrorist organizations prevalent in the region, such as Boko Haram, could lead to economic disruptions and shutdowns in industrial activities. In addition, corruption and bribery are a serious concern in the region. The operations of Hilli Corp in Cameroon are subject to these risks, which could materially adversely affect our revenues, our ability to perform under the LTA and our financial condition.

In addition, Hilli Corp maintains insurance coverage for only a portion of the risks incidental to doing business in Cameroon. There also may be certain risks covered by insurance where the policy does not reimburse Hilli Corp for all of the costs related to a loss. For example, any claims covered by insurance will be subject to deductibles, which may be significant. In the event that Hilli Corp incurs business interruption losses with respect to one or more incidents, they could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations.

Failure to comply with the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the UK Bribery Act and other anti-bribery legislation in other jurisdictions could result in fines, criminal penalties, contract terminations and an adverse effect on our business.

We may operate in a number of countries throughout the world, including countries known to have a reputation for corruption. We are committed to doing business in accordance with applicable anti-corruption laws and have adopted a code of business conduct and ethics which is consistent and in full compliance with the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977 (“FCPA”), and the Bribery Act 2010 of the United Kingdom (“UK Bribery Act”). We are subject, however, to the risk that we,
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our affiliated entities or our or their respective officers, directors, employees and agents may take actions determined to be in violation of such anti-corruption laws, including the FCPA and the UK Bribery Act. Any such violation could result in substantial fines, sanctions, civil and/or criminal penalties, curtailment of operations in certain jurisdictions, and might adversely affect our business, results of operations or financial condition. In addition, actual or alleged violations could damage our reputation and ability to do business. Furthermore, detecting, investigating, and resolving actual or alleged violations is expensive and can consume significant time and attention of our senior management.
In order to effectively compete in some foreign jurisdictions, we utilize local agents and/or establish entities with local operators or strategic partners. All of these activities may involve interaction by our agents with government officials. Even though some of our agents or partners may not themselves be subject to the FCPA, the UK Bribery Act or other anti-bribery laws to which we may be subject, if our agents or partners make improper payments to government officials or other persons in connection with engagements or partnerships with us, we could be investigated and potentially found liable for violation of such anti-bribery laws and could incur civil and criminal penalties and other sanctions, which could have a material adverse effect on our business and results of operations.
Changing corporate laws and reporting requirements could have an adverse impact on our business.
Changing laws, regulations and standards could create greater reporting obligations and compliance requirements on companies such as ours. Whilst the regulatory environment continues to evolve, we have invested in, and intend to continue to invest in, reasonably necessary resources to comply with evolving standards and maintain high standards of corporate governance and public disclosure. Recent examples of increased regulation include the UK Modern Slavery Act 2015 and the GDPR. The GDPR, for instance, broadens the scope of personal privacy laws to protect the rights of European Union citizens and requires organizations to report on data breaches within 72 hours and be bound by more stringent rules for obtaining the consent of individuals on how their data can be used.

Non-compliance with such regulation could result in governmental or other regulatory claims or significant fines that could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations, cash flows, and ability to pay distributions.

We may be subject to litigation that, if not resolved in our favor and not sufficiently insured against, could have a material adverse effect on us.
We may be, from time to time, involved in various litigation matters. These matters may include, among other things, contract disputes, personal injury claims, environmental claims or proceedings, asbestos and other toxic tort claims, employment matters, governmental claims for taxes or duties and other litigation that arises in the ordinary course of our business. Although we intend to defend these matters vigorously, we cannot predict with certainty the outcome or effect of any claim or other litigation matter, and the ultimate outcome of any litigation or the potential costs to resolve them may have a material adverse effect on us. Insurance may not be applicable or sufficient in all cases and/or insurers may not remain solvent, which may have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations, cash flows, and ability to pay distributions.

Vessel values may fluctuate substantially and, if these values are lower at a time when we are attempting to dispose of vessels, we may incur a loss.
Vessel values can fluctuate substantially over time due to a number of different factors, including:
prevailing economic conditions in the natural gas and energy markets;
a substantial or extended decline in demand for LNG;
increases in the supply of vessel capacity without a commensurate increase in demand;
the size and age of a vessel; and
the cost of retrofitting or modifying existing vessels, as a result of technological advances in vessel design or equipment, changes in applicable environmental or other regulations or standards, customer requirements or otherwise.

As our vessels age, the expenses associated with maintaining and operating them are expected to increase, which could have an adverse effect on our business and operations if we do not maintain sufficient cash reserves for maintenance and replacement capital expenditures. Moreover, the cost of a replacement vessel would be significant.

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During the period a vessel is subject to a charter, we will not be permitted to sell it to take advantage of increases in vessel values without the charterers’ consent. If a charter terminates, we may be unable to re-deploy the affected vessels at attractive rates and, rather than continue to incur costs to maintain and finance them, we may seek to dispose of them. When vessel values are low, we may not be able to dispose of vessels at a reasonable price when we wish to sell vessels, and conversely, when vessel values are elevated, we may not be able to acquire additional vessels at attractive prices when we wish to acquire additional vessels, which could adversely affect our business, results of operations, cash flow, financial condition and ability to make distributions to unitholders.

The carrying values of our vessels may not represent their fair market value at any point in time because the market prices of secondhand vessels tend to fluctuate with changes in charter rates and the cost of new build vessels. Our vessels are reviewed for impairment whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate that the carrying amount may not be recoverable. Although we did not recognize an impairment charge on any of our vessels for the year ended December 31, 2019, we cannot assure you that we will not recognize impairment losses on our vessels in future years. Any impairment charges incurred as a result of declines in charter rates could negatively affect our business, financial condition, operating results or the trading price of our common and preferred units.

Please refer to "Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects-B. Liquidity and Capital Resources-Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates-Vessel Market Values" for further information.

Exposure to currency exchange rate fluctuations will result in fluctuations in our cash flows and operating results.
Historically our revenue has been generated in U.S. Dollars, but we directly or indirectly incur capital, operating and administrative expenses in multiple currencies, including, among others, the Euro, the Brazilian Real, the Indonesian Rupiah, the Norwegian Kroner (or “NOK”) and Pound Sterling. If the U.S. Dollar weakens significantly, we would be required to convert more U.S. Dollars to other currencies to satisfy our obligations, which would cause us to have less cash available for distribution.

Because we report our operating results in U.S. Dollars, changes in the value of the U.S. Dollar also result in fluctuations in our reported revenues and earnings. In addition, under U.S. GAAP, all foreign currency-denominated monetary assets and liabilities such as cash and cash equivalents, accounts receivable, restricted cash and short-term deposits, accounts payable, long-term debt and finance lease obligation are revalued and reported based on the prevailing exchange rate at the end of the reporting period. This revaluation may cause us to report significant non-monetary foreign currency exchange gains and losses in certain periods. Please read “Item 11-Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk” below for a more detailed discussion on foreign currency risk.

We may be unable to attract and retain key management personnel in the LNG industry, which may negatively impact the effectiveness of our management and our results of operation.
Our success depends to a significant extent upon the abilities and the efforts of our senior executives. While we believe that we have an experienced management team, the loss or unavailability of one or more of our senior executives for any extended period of time could have an adverse effect on our business and results of operations.


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Risks Related to Our Industry
Our results of operations and financial condition depend on demand for LNG, LNG carriers, FSRUs and FLNGs.

Our business strategy focuses on expansion in the LNG shipping sector, the floating storage and regasification sector and the floating liquefaction sector. While global LNG demand has continued to rise, the rate of its growth has fluctuated for several reasons, including continued economic uncertainty, fluctuations in the price of natural gas and other sources of energy, the continued increase in natural gas production from unconventional sources, including hydraulic fracturing, in regions such as North America and the highly complex and capital intensive nature of new and expanded LNG projects, including liquefaction projects. Accordingly, our results of operations and financial condition depend on continued world and regional demand for LNG, LNG carriers, FSRUs and FLNGs, which could be negatively affected by a number of factors, including but not limited to:

price and availability of natural gas, crude oil and petroleum products;

increases in the cost of natural gas derived from LNG relative to the cost of natural gas;

decreases in the cost of, or increases in the demand for, conventional land-based regasification and liquefaction systems, which could occur if providers or users of regasification or liquefaction services seek greater economies of scale than FSRUs or FLNGs can provide, or if the economic, regulatory or political challenges associated with land-based activities improve;

further development of, or decreases in the cost of, alternative technologies for vessel-based LNG regasification or liquefaction;

increases in the production levels of low-cost natural gas in domestic natural gas consuming markets, which could further depress prices for natural gas in those markets and make LNG uneconomical;

increases in the production of natural gas in areas linked by pipelines to consuming areas, the extension of existing, or the development of new, pipeline systems in markets we may serve, or the conversion of existing non-natural gas pipelines to natural gas pipelines in those markets;

concerns regarding the spread of disease, including COVID-19;

negative global or regional economic or political conditions,including the recent worldwide economic downturn caused by the spread of COVID-19, particularly in LNG-consuming regions, which could reduce energy consumption or its growth;

decreases in the consumption of natural gas due to increases in its price relative to other energy sources or other factors making consumption of natural gas less attractive;

any significant explosion, spill or other incident involving an LNG facility or carrier, conventional land-based regasification or liquefaction system, or FSRU or FLNG;

new taxes or regulations affecting LNG production or liquefaction that make LNG production less attractive;

a significant increase in the number of LNG carriers, FSRUs or FLNGs available, whether by a reduction in the scrapping of existing vessels or the increase in construction of vessels; and

availability of new, alternative energy sources, including compressed natural gas.

Due in part to the COVID-19 outbreak as well as actions by OPEC members and other oil producing countries, energy prices have declined significantly during the first quarter of 2020. If the price environment remains low for a prolonged period of time, this could materially and adversely affect our business. In April 2020, oil, natural gas and LNG prices reached their lowest levels since 2002. A continuation of current low natural gas and LNG prices could negatively affect us in a number of ways, including the following:

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a reduction in exploration for or development of new natural gas reserves or projects, or the delay or cancellation of existing projects as energy companies lower their capital expenditures budgets, which may reduce our growth opportunities;

a decrease in the expected returns relating to investments in LNG projects;

low oil prices negatively affecting the market price of natural gas, to the extent that natural gas prices are benchmarked to the price of crude oil, in turn negatively affecting the economics of potential new LNG production projects, which may reduce our growth opportunities;

low gas prices globally and/or weak differentials between prices in the Atlantic Basin and the Pacific Basin leading to reduced inter-basin trading of LNG and reduced demand for LNG shipping;

lower demand for vessels of the types we own and operate, which may reduce available charter rates and revenue to us upon redeployment of our vessels following expiration or termination of existing contracts or upon the initial chartering of vessels;

customers potentially seeking to renegotiate or terminate existing vessel contracts, or failing to extend or renew contracts upon expiration;

the inability or refusal of customers to make charter payments to us due to financial constraints or otherwise; or

declines in vessel values, which may result in losses to us upon vessel sales or impairment charges against our earnings and could impact our compliance with the covenants in our loan agreements.

Reduced demand for LNG or LNG liquefaction, storage, shipping or regasification, or any reduction or limitation in LNG production capacity, could have a material adverse effect on prevailing charter rates or the market value of our vessels, which could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition.

Growth of the LNG market may be limited by many factors, including infrastructure constraints and community and political group resistance to new LNG infrastructure over concerns about environmental, safety and terrorism.

A complete LNG project includes production, liquefaction, regasification, storage and distribution facilities and LNG carriers. Existing LNG projects and infrastructure are limited, and new or expanded LNG projects are highly complex and capital intensive, with new projects often costing several billion dollars. Many factors could negatively affect continued development of LNG infrastructure and related alternatives, including floating liquefaction, storage and regasification, or disrupt the supply of LNG, including:

increases in interest rates or other events that may affect the availability of sufficient financing for LNG projects on commercially reasonable terms;

decreases in the price of LNG, which might decrease the expected returns relating to investments in LNG projects;

the inability of project owners or operators to obtain governmental approvals to construct or operate LNG facilities;

local community resistance to proposed or existing LNG facilities based on safety, environmental or security concerns;

any significant explosion, spill or similar incident involving an LNG production, liquefaction or regasification facility, FSRU or LNG carrier; and

labor or political unrest affecting existing or proposed areas of LNG production, liquefaction and regasification.

Our vessels may call on ports located in countries that are subject to restrictions imposed by the U.S. or other governments, which could adversely affect our business.

Although no vessels operated by us have called on ports located in countries subject to comprehensive sanctions and embargoes imposed by the U.S. government or countries identified by the U.S. government as state sponsors of terrorism, in the future our vessels may call on ports in these countries from time to time on our charterers’ instructions. The U.S. sanctions and
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embargo laws and regulations vary in their application, as they do not all apply to the same covered persons or proscribe the same activities, and such sanctions and embargo laws and regulations may be amended or strengthened over time.

Although we believe that we have been in compliance with all applicable sanctions and embargo laws and regulations, and intend to maintain such compliance, there can be no assurance that we will be in compliance in the future, particularly as the scope of certain laws may be unclear and may be subject to changing interpretations. Any such violation could result in fines, penalties or other sanctions that could severely impact our ability to access U.S. capital markets and conduct our business, and could result in some investors deciding, or being required, to divest their interest, or not to invest, in us. In addition, certain institutional investors may have investment policies or restrictions that prevent them from holding securities of companies that have contracts with U.S. embargoed countries or countries identified by the U.S. government as state sponsors of terrorism and certain financial institutions may have policies against lending or extending credit to companies that have contracts with U.S. embargoed countries or countries identified by the U.S. government as state sponsors of terrorism. The determination by these investors not to invest in, or to divest from, our common and preferred units or the determination by these financial institutions not to offer financing may adversely affect the price at which our common and preferred units trade. Moreover, our charterers may violate applicable sanctions and embargo laws and regulations as a result of actions that do not involve us or our vessels, and those violations could in turn negatively affect our reputation. In addition, our reputation and the market for our securities may be adversely affected if we engage in certain other activities, such as entering into charters with individuals or entities in countries subject to U.S. sanctions and embargo laws that are not controlled by the governments of those countries, or engaging in operations associated with those countries pursuant to contracts with third parties that are unrelated to those countries or entities controlled by their governments. Investor perception of the value of our common and preferred units may be adversely affected by the consequences of war, the effects of terrorism, civil unrest and governmental actions in these and surrounding countries.

Maritime claimants could arrest our vessels, which could interrupt our cash flow.

If we are in default on certain kinds of obligations, such as those to our lenders, crew members, suppliers of goods and services to our vessels or shippers of cargo, these parties may be entitled to a maritime lien against one or more of our vessels. In many jurisdictions, a maritime lien holder may enforce its lien by arresting a vessel through foreclosure proceedings. In a few jurisdictions, claimants could try to assert “sister ship” liability against one vessel in our fleet for claims relating to another of our vessels. The arrest or attachment of one or more of our vessels could interrupt our cash flow and require us to pay to have the arrest lifted. Under some of our present charters, if the vessel is arrested or detained (for as few as 14 days in the case of one of our charters) as a result of a claim against us, we may be in default of our charter and the charterer may terminate the charter. This would negatively impact our revenues and reduce our cash available for distribution to unitholders.

The United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union could adversely impact us.

On June 23, 2016, in a referendum vote commonly referred to as “Brexit,” a majority of British voters voted to exit the European Union and on January 31, 2020, the UK formally exited the European Union. The British government is currently in negotiations with the European Union to determine the terms of the UK’s exit. The withdrawal could potentially disrupt the free movement of goods, services and people between the UK and the European Union, undermine bilateral cooperation in key geographic areas and significantly disrupt trade between the UK and the European Union or other nations as the UK pursues independent trade relations. In addition, Brexit could lead to legal uncertainty and potentially divergent national laws and regulations as the UK determines which European Union laws to replace or replicate. The effects of Brexit will depend on any agreements the UK makes to retain access to European Union or other markets either during a transitional period or more permanently. It is unclear what long-term economic, financial, trade and legal implications the withdrawal of the UK from the European Union would have and how such withdrawal would affect our business. In addition, Brexit may lead other European Union member countries to consider referendums regarding their European Union membership. Any of these events, along with any political, economic and regulatory changes that may occur, could cause political and economic uncertainty and harm our business and financial results.

Risks Related to Industry Regulation

Our operations are subject to various international, federal, state and local environmental, climate change and greenhouse gas emissions laws and regulations. Compliance with these obligations, and any future changes to environmental legislation or regulation applicable to international and national maritime trade, may have an adverse effect on our business.

Our operations are affected by extensive and changing international, national and local environmental protection laws, regulations, treaties and conventions in force in international waters and the jurisdictional waters of the countries in which our
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vessels operate, as well as those in force in the countries of our vessels’ registration. Such laws and regulations, among other things, govern response to and liability for oil spills, discharges to air and water, and the handling and disposal of hazardous substances and wastes. In some cases, these laws and regulations require us to obtain governmental permits and authorizations before we may conduct certain activities.

National laws generally provide for a LNG carrier, FSRU and FLNG owner or operator to bear strict liability for pollution, subject to a right to limit liability under applicable national or international regimes for limitation of liability. The IMO International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships of 1973 as from time to time amended, and generally referred to as MARPOL, can affect our operations. In addition, our LNG vessels may become subject to the International Convention on Liability and Compensation for Damage in Connection with the Carriage of Hazardous and Noxious Substances by Sea, or the HNS, adopted in 1996 and subsequently amended by the April 2010 Protocol, which is discussed further below.

Laws that apply to our operations change from time to time. Further legislation, or amendments to existing legislation, applicable to international and national maritime trade are expected over the coming years in areas such as ship recycling, sewage systems, emission control (including emissions of greenhouse gases), and ballast treatment and handling. For example, under the International Maritime Organization ("IMO")’s MARPOL Annex VI, effective January 1, 2020, absent the installation of expensive sulfur scrubbers to meet reduced emission requirements for sulfur, the maximum sulfur content in fuels used by the marine sector in all seas, including our vessels, was lowered from 3.5% to 0.5% sulfur. These requirements are generally referred to as IMO 2020. The marine sector accounts for approximately half of the global fuel oil demand and the impact of the increased demand for compliant low sulfur fuels is expected to affect the availability and cost of such fuels. Changes in legislation or regulations may require additional capital expenditures or operating expenses (such as increased costs for low-sulfur fuel) in order for us to maintain our vessels’ compliance with international and/or national regulations.

Failure to comply with applicable laws and regulations may result in administrative and civil penalties, criminal sanctions or the suspension or termination of our operations, including, in certain instances, seizure or detention of our vessels. Such legislation or regulations may require additional capital expenditures or operating expenses. Please see "Item 4. Information on the Company-B. Business Overview" below for a more detailed discussion on these topics.

Climate change and greenhouse gas restrictions may adversely impact our operations and markets.

Due to concern over the risk of climate change, a number of countries and the IMO have adopted, or are considering the adoption of, regulatory frameworks to reduce greenhouse gas emission from vessel emissions. The Initial IMO Strategy on reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from ships adopted in 2018 targets reductions in the carbon intensity and total greenhouse gas emissions from international ships as compared to 2008 through the reduction of CO2 emissions per transport work, as an average across international shipping, by at least 40% by 2030 with a goal of achieving a 70% reduction by 2050 and at least a 50% reduction in total annual greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Regulatory measures designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions may include, among others, adoption of cap and trade regimes, carbon taxes, increased efficiency standards, and incentives or mandates for renewable energy. Also, a treaty may be adopted in the future that requires the adoption of restrictions on shipping emissions. Compliance with changes in laws and regulations relating to climate change could increase our costs of operating and maintaining our vessels and could require us to make significant financial expenditures that we cannot predict with certainty at this time.

Adverse effects upon the oil and gas industry relating to climate change, including growing public concern about the environmental impact of climate change, may also have an effect on demand for our services. For example, increased regulation of greenhouse gases or other concerns relating to climate change may reduce the demand for oil and gas in the future or create greater incentives for use of alternative energy sources. Any long-term material adverse effect on the oil and gas industry could have a significant financial and operational adverse impact on our business that we cannot predict with certainty at this time. Please read “Item 4. Information on the Partnership-B. Business Overview-Environmental and Other Regulations-Regulation of Greenhouse Gas Emissions” below for a more detailed discussion.

Compliance with safety and other vessel requirements imposed by classification societies may be very costly and may adversely affect our business.

The hull and machinery of every large, oceangoing commercial vessel must be classed by a classification society authorized by its country of registry. The classification society certifies that a vessel is safe and seaworthy in accordance with the applicable rules and regulations of the country of registry of the vessel and the Safety of Life at Sea Convention. With the exception of the Golar Mazo, which is certified by Lloyds Register, all other vessels in our current fleet are each certified by the Norwegian Class Society, DNV-GL.

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As part of the certification process, a vessel must undergo annual surveys, intermediate surveys and special surveys. In lieu of a special survey, a vessel’s machinery may be on a continuous survey cycle, under which the machinery would be surveyed periodically over a five-year period. Each of the vessels in our existing fleet is on a planned maintenance system approval, and as such the classification society attends on board once every year to verify that the maintenance of the equipment on board is done correctly. Each of the vessels in our existing fleet is required to be qualified within its respective classification society for dry-docking once every five years subject to an intermediate underwater survey done using an approved diving company in the presence of a surveyor from the classification society.

If any vessel does not maintain its class or fails any annual survey, intermediate survey or special survey, the vessel will be unable to trade between ports and will be unemployable. We would lose revenue while the vessel was off-hire and incur costs of compliance. This would negatively impact our results of operations and reduce our cash available for distributions to our unitholders.

Risks Related to an Investment in Us

We may be unable to make or realize expected benefits from acquisitions which could have an adverse effect on our expected plans for growth.

Our growth strategy includes selectively acquiring FSRUs, FLNGs and LNG carriers that are operating under long-term, stable cash flow generating time charters.

Any acquisition of a vessel or business may not be profitable to us at or after the time we acquire it and may not generate cash flow sufficient to justify our investment. In addition, our acquisition growth strategy exposes us to risks that may harm our business, financial condition and operating results, including risks caused by the spread of COVID-19 and risks that we may:
fail to realize anticipated benefits, such as new customer relationships, cost-savings or cash flow enhancements;
be unable to hire, train or retain qualified shore and seafaring personnel to manage and operate our growing business and fleet;
decrease our liquidity by using a significant portion of our available cash or borrowing capacity to finance acquisitions;
significantly increase our interest expense or financial leverage if we incur additional debt to finance acquisitions;
incur or assume unanticipated liabilities, losses or costs associated with the business or vessels acquired; or
incur other significant charges, such as impairment of goodwill or other intangible assets, asset devaluation or restructuring charges.

Unlike new builds, existing vessels typically do not carry warranties as to their condition. If we inspect existing vessels prior to purchase, such an inspection would normally not provide us with as much knowledge of a vessel’s condition as we would possess if it had been built for us and operated only by us or Golar during its life. Repairs and maintenance costs for existing vessels are difficult to predict and may be substantially higher than for vessels we have operated since they were built. These costs could decrease our cash flow and reduce our liquidity and could have an adverse effect on our expected plans for growth.
We may not have sufficient cash from operations following the establishment of cash reserves and payment of fees and expenses to enable us to pay distributions on our units.

We may not have sufficient cash from operations to pay distributions on our units. Furthermore, distributions to the holders of our common units are subject to the prior distribution rights of any holders of our preferred units outstanding. As of April 16, 2020, there were 5,520,000 of our 8.75% Series A Cumulative Redeemable Preferred Units (“Series A Preferred Units”) issued and outstanding. Under the terms of our partnership agreement, we are prohibited from declaring and paying distributions on our common units until we declare and pay (or set aside for payment) full distributions on the Series A Preferred Units.

The amount of cash we can distribute on our units principally depends upon the amount of cash we generate from our operations, which may fluctuate from quarter to quarter based on the utilization of our vessels, the rates we obtain from our
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charters, our level of operating and maintenance costs and our working capital and debt service requirements, along with the other risks described in this section, some of which are outside of our control.
The amount of cash we generate from our operations may differ materially from our profit or loss for the period, which will be affected by non-cash items. As a result of this and the other factors outlined in this section, we may make cash distributions during periods when we record losses and may not make cash distributions during periods when we record net income.
Our common and preferred unit prices may be highly volatile and future sales of our common and preferred units could cause the market price of our common and preferred units to decline and could lead to a loss of all or part of a unitholder’s investment.

The market prices for our common and preferred units have fluctuated since they began trading on the NASDAQ Global Select Market. We cannot assure you that an active and liquid public market for our common and preferred units will continue. Over the last few years, the stock market has experienced price and volume fluctuations, especially in recent times due, in part, to the global outbreak of COVID-19. In 2019, the closing market price of our common units on NASDAQ ranged from a low of $8.40 on December 17, 2019 to a high of $14.28 per unit on February 15, 2019, and the closing market price of our preferred units on NASDAQ ranged from a low of $23.75 on June 3, 2019 to a high of $26.0 per unit on November 6, 2019. On April 16, 2020, the closing market price of our common units on Nasdaq was $2.14 per unit and for our preferred units it was $15.48 per unit. The market price of our common and preferred units may continue to fluctuate significantly in response to many factors such as actual or anticipated fluctuations in our quarterly or annual results and those of other public companies in our industry, the suspension of our distribution payments, mergers and strategic alliances in the shipping industry, market conditions in the LNG shipping industry, developments in our FLNG investments, shortfalls in our operating results from levels forecast by securities analysts, announcements concerning us or our competitors, business interruptions caused by the global COVID-19 outbreak, the general state of the securities market, and other factors, many of which are beyond our control. The market for common and preferred units in this industry may be equally volatile. Therefore, we cannot assure our unitholders that they will be able to sell any of our common and preferred units that they may have purchased at a price greater than or equal to the original purchase price.
In addition, we have granted registration rights to Golar and certain of its affiliates. These unitholders have the right, subject to some conditions, to require us to file registration statements covering any of our common units or other equity securities owned by them or to include those securities in registration statements that we may file for ourselves or other unitholders. As of April 16, 2020, Golar owned 21,333,586 common units. Following their registration and sale under the applicable registration statement, those securities will become freely tradable. By exercising their registration rights and selling a large number of common units or other securities, these unitholders could cause the price of our common units to decline.
Our officers face conflicts in the allocation of their time to our business.
Our officers are all directors or officers of Golar Management and perform executive officer functions for us pursuant to the Management and Administrative Services Agreement, are not required to work full-time on our affairs and also perform services for affiliates of our general partner, including Golar and Golar Power. The affiliates of our general partner, including Golar and Golar Power, conduct substantial businesses and activities of their own in which we have no economic interest. As a result, there could be material competition for the time and effort of our officers who also provide services to our general partner’s affiliates, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition. Please read “Item 6-Directors, Senior Management and Employees”.

We depend on Golar and certain of its subsidiaries, including Golar Management, GMN, GMM and GMC, to assist us in operating and expanding our business.

Our ability to enter into new charters and expand our customer relationships will depend largely on our ability to leverage our relationship with Golar and its reputation and relationships in the LNG industry. If Golar suffers material damage to its reputation or relationships, it may harm our ability to:

renew existing charters upon their expiration;
obtain new charters;
successfully interact with shipyards;
obtain financing on commercially acceptable terms;
recover amounts due to us; or
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maintain satisfactory relationships with suppliers and other third parties.

In addition, each vessel in our fleet is subject to management agreements pursuant to which certain commercial and technical management services are provided by certain subsidiaries of Golar, including GMN, GMM and GMC. Pursuant to these agreements, these entities provide significant commercial and technical management services for our fleet. In addition, pursuant to the Management and Administrative Services Agreement, Golar Management provides us with significant management, administrative, financial and other support services. Our operational success and ability to execute our growth strategy depends significantly upon the satisfactory performance of these services. Our business will be harmed if these Golar subsidiaries fail to perform these services satisfactorily, if they cancel their agreements with us or if they stop providing these services to us. Please read “Item 7. Major Unitholders and Related Party Transactions-Related Party Transactions.”

Fees and cost reimbursements, which Golar Management determines for services provided to us, are substantial, are payable regardless of our profitability and reduce our cash available for distribution to our unitholders.

Pursuant to the fleet management agreements, we pay fees for services provided to us and our subsidiaries by Golar Management (a subsidiary of Golar) and certain other subsidiaries of Golar, including GMN, GMM and GMC, and we reimburse these entities for all expenses they incur on our behalf. These fees and expenses include all costs and expenses incurred in providing certain commercial and technical management services to our subsidiaries.

In addition, pursuant to the Management and Administrative Services Agreement, Golar Management provides us with significant management, administrative, financial and other support services. We reimburse Golar Management for its reasonable costs and expenses incurred in connection with the provision of these services. In addition, we pay Golar Management a management fee equal to 5% of its costs and expenses incurred in connection with providing services to us.

For a description of the fleet management agreements and the Management and Administrative Services Agreement, please read “Item 7. Major Unitholders and Related Party Transactions.” Fees and expenses payable pursuant to the fleet management agreements and the Management and Administrative Services Agreement are payable without regard to our financial condition or results of operations. The payment of fees to and the reimbursement of expenses of subsidiaries of Golar could adversely affect our ability to pay cash distributions to our unitholders.

Golar and its affiliates may compete with us.

Pursuant to the omnibus agreement that we entered into in connection with our IPO (or the "Omnibus Agreement"), Golar and its affiliates (other than us, our general partner and our subsidiaries) generally agreed not to acquire, own, operate or charter certain FSRUs and LNG carriers operating under charters of five years or more (or "Five Year Vessels"). In June 2016, in connection with the formation by Golar of Golar Power, we entered into an additional omnibus agreement (or the "Golar Power Omnibus Agreement"), pursuant to which Golar and Golar Power agreed not to acquire, own, operate or charter Five Year Vessels. Both omnibus agreements, however, contain significant exceptions that may allow Golar, Golar Power and their respective affiliates to compete with us, which could harm our business. Please read “Item 7. Major Unitholders and Related Party Transactions-B. Related Party Transactions-Omnibus Agreement-Non-competition” and “-Golar Power Omnibus Agreement-Non-competition.”

The shareholders’ agreement with Chinese Petroleum Corporation with respect to the Golar Mazo contains provisions that may limit our ability to sell or transfer our interest in the Golar Mazo, which could have a material adverse effect on our cash flows and affect our ability to make distributions to our unitholders.

We have a 60% interest in the joint venture that owns the Golar Mazo, which enables us to control the joint venture subject to certain protective rights held by Chinese Petroleum Corporation (or CPC), who holds the remaining 40% interest in the Golar Mazo. Under the shareholders’ agreement, no party may sell, assign, mortgage, or otherwise transfer its rights, interests or obligations under the agreement without the prior written consent of the other party. If we determine that the sale or transfer of our interest in the Golar Mazo is in our best interest, we must provide CPC notice of our intent to sell or transfer our interest and grant CPC a right of first refusal to purchase our interest. If CPC does not accept the offer within 60 days after we notify CPC, we will be free to sell or transfer our interest to a third party. Any delay in the sale or transfer of our interest in the Golar Mazo or restrictions in our ability to manage the joint venture could have a material adverse effect on our cash flows and affect our ability to make distributions to our unitholders.

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PTNR has the right to purchase the NR Satu at any time at a price that must be agreed upon between us and PTNR. The exercise of this option could have a material adverse effect on our cash flow and our ability to make distributions to our unitholders.
PTNR has the right to purchase the NR Satu at any time at a price that must be agreed upon between us and PTNR. If PTNR exercises its purchase option, it would reduce the size of our fleet and we may be unable to identify or acquire a suitable replacement vessel with the proceeds of the option exercise. Even if we find a suitable replacement vessel, the hire rate of such vessel may be lower than the hire rate for the NR Satu under its charter. The exercise of this option could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, cash flows and ability to make distributions to our unitholders.
Our common units are subordinated to our existing and future indebtedness and our Series A Preferred Units.
Our common units are equity interests in us and do not constitute indebtedness. The common units rank junior to all existing and future indebtedness and other non-equity claims on us with respect to the assets available to satisfy claims, including a liquidation of the Partnership. Additionally, holders of the common units are subject to the prior distribution and liquidation rights of the holders of the Series A Preferred Units and any other preferred units we may issue in the future.
Increases in interest rates may cause the market price of our units to decline.
An increase in interest rates may cause a corresponding decline in demand for equity investments in general, and in particular for yield-based equity investments such as our units. Any such increase in interest rates or reduction in demand for our common units resulting from other relatively more attractive investment opportunities may cause the trading price of our common units or Series A Preferred Units to decline.
We have been organized as a limited partnership under the laws of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, which does not have a well-developed body of partnership law.
Our partnership affairs are governed by our partnership agreement and by the Marshall Islands Act. The provisions of the Marshall Islands Act resemble provisions of the limited partnership laws of a number of states in the United States, most notably Delaware. The Marshall Islands Act also provides that it is to be applied and construed to make it uniform with the Delaware Revised Uniform Partnership Act and, so long as it does not conflict with the Marshall Islands Act or decisions of the Marshall Islands courts, interpreted according to the non-statutory law (or case law) of the State of Delaware. There have been, however, few, if any, court cases in the Marshall Islands interpreting the Marshall Islands Act, in contrast to Delaware, which has a fairly well-developed body of case law interpreting its limited partnership statute. Accordingly, we cannot predict whether Marshall Islands courts would reach the same conclusions as the courts in Delaware. For example, the rights of our unitholders and the fiduciary responsibilities of our general partner under Marshall Islands law are not as clearly established as under judicial precedent in existence in Delaware. As a result, unitholders may have more difficulty in protecting their interests in the face of actions by our general partner and its officers and directors than would unitholders of a similarly organized limited partnership in the United States.
Because we are organized under the laws of the Marshall Islands, it may be difficult to serve us with legal process or enforce judgments against us, our directors or our management.
We are organized under the laws of the Marshall Islands, and substantially all of our assets are located outside of the United States. In addition, our general partner is a Marshall Islands limited liability company, and our directors and officers generally are or will be non-residents of the United States, and all or a substantial portion of the assets of these non-residents are located outside the United States. As a result, it may be difficult or impossible for a unitholder to bring an action against us or against these individuals in the United States if such unitholder believes that its rights have been infringed under securities laws or otherwise. Even if a unitholder is successful in bringing an action of this kind, the laws of the Marshall Islands and of other jurisdictions may prevent or restrict such unitholder from enforcing a judgment against our assets or the assets of our general partner or our directors or officers.
Our partnership agreement designates the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware as the exclusive forum for certain types of actions and proceedings that may be initiated by our unitholders unless otherwise provided for in the Marshall Islands Limited Partnership Act. This limits our unitholders’ ability to choose the judicial forum for disputes with us or our directors, officers or other employees.
Our partnership agreement provides that, with certain limited exceptions, the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware is the exclusive forum for any claims, suits, actions or proceedings (1) arising out of or relating in any way to our partnership agreement (including any claims, suits or actions to interpret, apply or enforce the provisions of our partnership
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agreement or the duties, obligations or liabilities among limited partners or of limited partners to us, or the rights or powers of, or restrictions on, our limited partners or us); (2) brought in a derivative manner on our behalf; (3) asserting a claim of breach of a fiduciary duty owed by any director, officer or other employee of us or our general partner, or owed by our general partner, to us or our limited partners; (4) asserting a claim arising pursuant to any provision of the Marshall Islands Limited Partnership Act; and (5) asserting a claim governed by the internal affairs doctrine. This exclusive forum provision does not apply to actions arising under the Securities Act or the Exchange Act. Any person or entity purchasing or otherwise acquiring any interest in our units is deemed to have received notice of and consented to the foregoing provisions.
Although we believe these provisions will benefit us by providing increased consistency in the application of Delaware law for the specified types of actions and proceedings, the provisions may have the effect of discouraging lawsuits against our directors, officers, employees and agents. The enforceability of similar forum selection provisions in other companies’ certificates of incorporation or similar governing documents have been challenged in legal proceedings, and it is possible that, in connection with one or more actions or proceedings described above, a court could find that the forum selection provision contained in our partnership agreement is inapplicable or unenforceable in such action or actions. Limited partners will not be deemed, by operation of the forum selection provision alone, to have waived claims arising under the federal securities laws and the rules and regulations thereunder. If a court were to find this choice of forum provision inapplicable to, or unenforceable in respect of, one or more of the specified types of actions or proceedings, we may incur additional costs associated with resolving such matters in other jurisdictions, which could adversely affect our financial position, results of operations and ability to make cash distributions to our unitholders.

Our general partner and its other affiliates own a significant interest in us and have conflicts of interest and limited fiduciary and contractual duties, which may permit them to favor their own interests to the detriment of our unitholders.

As of April 16, 2020, Golar owned 30.8% of our common units, 2% general partner interest in us and all of our incentive distribution rights. Certain of our directors and officers are directors and/or officers of Golar or its affiliates and, as such, they have fiduciary duties to Golar that may cause them to pursue business strategies that disproportionately benefit Golar or which otherwise are not in the best interests of us or our unitholders. Conflicts of interest may arise between Golar and its affiliates (including our general partner) on the one hand, and us and our unitholders, on the other hand. As a result of these conflicts, our general partner and its affiliates may favor their own interests over the interests of our unitholders. These conflicts include, among others, the following situations:

neither our partnership agreement nor any other agreement requires our general partner or Golar or its affiliates to pursue a business strategy that favors us or utilizes our assets, and Golar’s officers and directors have a fiduciary duty to make decisions in the best interests of the shareholders of Golar, which may be contrary to our interests;

our partnership agreement permits our general partner to make a number of decisions in its individual capacity, as opposed to in its capacity as our general partner. Where our partnership agreement permits, our general partner may consider only the interests and factors that it desires, and in such cases it has no fiduciary duty or obligation to give any consideration to any interest of, or factors affecting, us, our affiliates or our unitholders. Decisions made by our general partner in its individual capacity will be made by its sole owner, Golar. Specifically, our general partner will be considered to be acting in its individual capacity if it exercises its call right, pre-emptive rights or registration rights, consents or withholds consent to any merger or consolidation of the partnership, appoints any directors or votes for the election of any director, votes or refrains from voting on amendments to our partnership agreement that require a vote of the outstanding units, voluntarily withdraws from the partnership, transfers (to the extent permitted under our partnership agreement) or refrains from transferring its units or general partner interest;

our general partner and our directors have limited their liabilities and reduced their fiduciary duties under the laws of the Marshall Islands, while also restricting the remedies available to our unitholders, and, as a result of purchasing common units, unitholders are treated as having agreed to the modified standard of fiduciary duties and to certain actions that may be taken by our general partner and our directors, all as set forth in the partnership agreement;

our general partner is entitled to reimbursement of all reasonable costs incurred by it and its affiliates for our benefit;

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our partnership agreement does not restrict us from paying our general partner or its affiliates for any services rendered to us on terms that are fair and reasonable or entering into additional contractual arrangements with any of these entities on our behalf;

our general partner may exercise its right to call and purchase our common units if it and its affiliates own more than 80% of our common units; and our general partner is not obligated to obtain a fairness opinion regarding the value of the common units to be repurchased by it upon the exercise of its limited call right.

Although a majority of our directors are elected by common unitholders, our general partner will likely have substantial influence on decisions made by our board of directors.
Our partnership agreement limits our general partner’s and our directors’ fiduciary duties to our unitholders and restricts the remedies available to unitholders for actions taken by our general partner or our directors.

Our partnership agreement provides that our general partner will delegate to our board of directors the authority to oversee and direct our operations, management and policies on an exclusive basis, and such delegation will be binding on any successor general partner of the partnership. Our partnership agreement also contains provisions that reduce the standards to which our general partner and directors would otherwise be held by Marshall Islands law. For example, our partnership agreement:

permits our general partner to make a number of decisions in its individual capacity, as opposed to in its capacity as our general partner. Where our partnership agreement permits, our general partner may consider only the interests and factors that it desires, and in such cases it has no fiduciary duty or obligation to give any consideration to any interest of, or factors affecting, us, our affiliates or our unitholders;

provides that our general partner and our directors are entitled to make other decisions in “good faith” if they reasonably believe that the decision is in our best interests;

generally provides that affiliated transactions and resolutions of conflicts of interest not approved by the conflicts committee of our board of directors and not involving a vote of unitholders must be on terms no less favorable to us than those generally being provided to or available from unrelated third parties or be “fair and reasonable” to us and that, in determining whether a transaction or resolution is “fair and reasonable,” our board of directors may consider the totality of the relationships between the parties involved, including other transactions that may be particularly advantageous or beneficial to us; and

provides that neither our general partner nor our officers or our directors will be liable for monetary damages to us, our limited partners or assignees for any acts or omissions unless there has been a final and non-appealable judgment entered by a court of competent jurisdiction determining that our general partner or directors or its officers or directors or those other persons engaged in actual fraud or willful misconduct.

In order to become a limited partner of our partnership, a unitholder is required to agree to be bound by the provisions in the partnership agreement, including the provisions discussed above.
Our partnership agreement contains provisions that may have the effect of discouraging a person or group from attempting to remove our current management or our general partner which could diminish the trading price of our common units.

Our partnership agreement contains provisions that may have the effect of discouraging a person or group from attempting to remove our current management or our general partner.

The vote of the holders of at least 66⅔% of all outstanding common units voting together as a single class is required to remove the general partner.

Common unitholders are entitled to elect only four of the seven members of our board of directors. Our general partner in its sole discretion appoints the remaining three directors.

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Election of the four directors elected by unitholders is staggered, meaning that the member(s) of only one of three classes of our elected directors will be selected each year. In addition, the directors appointed by our general partner serve for terms determined by our general partner.

Our partnership agreement contains provisions limiting the ability of unitholders to call meetings of unitholders, to nominate directors and to acquire information about our operations as well as other provisions limiting the unitholders’ ability to influence the manner or direction of management.

Unitholders’ voting rights are further restricted by the partnership agreement provision providing that if any person or group owns beneficially more than 4.9% of any class of units then outstanding, any such units owned by that person or group in excess of 4.9% may not be voted on any matter, as further described under “Unitholders have limited voting rights, and our partnership agreement restricts the voting rights of the unitholders owning more than 4.9% of our units.”

There are no restrictions in our partnership agreement on our ability to issue additional common units.
The effect of these provisions may be to diminish the price at which our units will trade.
The control of our general partner may be transferred to a third party without unitholder consent.

Our general partner may transfer its general partner interest to a third party in a merger or in a sale of all or substantially all of its assets without the consent of the unitholders. In addition, our partnership agreement does not restrict the ability of the members of our general partner from transferring their respective membership interests in our general partner to a third party.
Unitholders have limited voting rights, and our partnership agreement restricts the voting rights of the unitholders owning more than 4.9% of our units.

Unlike the holders of common stock in a corporation, holders of common units have only limited voting rights on matters affecting our business. We hold a meeting of the limited partners every year to elect one or more members of our board of directors and to vote on any other matters that are properly brought before the meeting. Common unitholders are entitled to elect only four of the seven members of our board of directors. The elected directors are elected on a staggered basis and serve for three year terms. Our general partner in its sole discretion appoints the remaining three directors and set the terms for which those directors will serve. The partnership agreement also contains provisions limiting the ability of unitholders to call meetings or to acquire information about our operations, as well as other provisions limiting the unitholders’ ability to influence the manner or direction of management. Unitholders have no right to elect our general partner, and our general partner may not be removed except by a vote of the holders of at least 66⅔% of the outstanding common units, including any common units owned by our general partner and its affiliates, voting together as a single class.

Our partnership agreement further restricts unitholders’ voting rights by providing that if any person or group owns beneficially more than 4.9% of any class of units then outstanding, any such units owned by that person or group in excess of 4.9% may not be voted on any matter and will not be considered to be outstanding when sending notices of a meeting of unitholders, calculating required votes (except for purposes of nominating a person for election to our board), determining the presence of a quorum or for other similar purposes, unless required by law. The voting rights of any such unitholders in excess of 4.9% will effectively be redistributed pro rata among the other common unitholders holding less than 4.9% of the voting power of all classes of units entitled to vote. Our general partner, its affiliates and persons who acquired common units with the prior approval of our board of directors will not be subject to this 4.9% limitation except with respect to voting their common units in the election of the elected directors.

We may issue additional equity securities, including securities senior to the common units, without the approval of our unitholders, which would dilute our current unitholders’ ownership interests.

We may, without the approval of our unitholders, issue an unlimited number of additional common units. In addition, we may issue units that are senior to the common units in right of distribution, liquidation and voting, provided that we may not issue any limited partner interests or other equity securities expressly made senior to the Series A Preferred Units as to the payment of distributions and amounts payable upon liquidation, dissolution or winding up, whether voluntary or involuntary (“Senior Securities”) and, under certain circumstances limited partner interests or other equity securities with terms expressly providing that such class or series ranks on a parity with the Series A Preferred Units as to the payment of distributions and
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amounts payable upon liquidation, dissolution or winding up, whether voluntary or involuntary (“Parity Securities”) without the affirmative vote of the holders of at least two-thirds of the outstanding Series A Preferred Units. The issuance by us of additional common units or other equity securities of equal or senior rank will have the following effects:

our unitholders’ proportionate ownership interest in us will decrease;
the amount of cash available for distribution on each unit may decrease;
the relative voting strength of each previously outstanding unit may be diminished; and
the market price of the common units may decline.

Our Series A Preferred Units have rights, preferences and privileges that are not held by, and are preferential to the rights of, holders of our common units.

Our Series A Preferred Units rank senior to all our common units with respect to distribution rights and liquidation preference. These preferences could adversely affect the market price for our common units, or could make it more difficult for us to sell our common units in the future. In addition, distributions on the Series A Preferred Units accrue and are cumulative. Our obligation to pay distributions on our Series A Preferred Units, or on the common units issued following conversion of such Series A Preferred Units, could impact our liquidity and reduce the amount of cash flow available for working capital, capital expenditures, growth opportunities, acquisitions, and other general partnership purposes. Our obligations to the holders of Series A Preferred Units could also limit our ability to obtain additional financing or increase our borrowing costs, which could have an adverse effect on our financial condition.

In establishing cash reserves, our board of directors may further reduce the amount of cash available for distribution to our unitholders.

Our partnership agreement requires our general partner to deduct from operating surplus cash reserves that it determines are necessary to fund our future operating expenditures. These reserves also will affect the amount of cash available for distribution to our unitholders. As described above, our partnership agreement requires our board of directors each quarter to deduct from operating surplus estimated maintenance and replacement capital expenditures, as opposed to actual maintenance and replacement capital expenditures, which could further reduce the amount of available cash for distribution. The amount of estimated maintenance and replacement capital expenditures deducted from operating surplus is subject to review and change by our board of directors at least once a year, provided that any change must be approved by the conflicts committee of our board of directors.

Our general partner has a limited call right that may require unitholders to sell their common units at an undesirable time or price.

If at any time our general partner and its affiliates own more than 80% of the common units, our general partner will have the right, which it may assign to any of its affiliates or to us, but not the obligation, to acquire all, but not less than all, of the common units held by unaffiliated persons at a price not less than the then-current market price of our common units. Our general partner is not obligated to obtain a fairness opinion regarding the value of the common units to be repurchased by it upon the exercise of this limited call right. As a result, unitholders may be required to sell their common units at an undesirable time or price and may not receive any return on their investment. Unitholders may also incur a tax liability upon a sale of units.

Unitholders may not have limited liability if a court finds that unitholder action constitutes control of our business.

As a limited partner in a partnership organized under the laws of the Marshall Islands, a unitholder could be held liable for our obligations to the same extent as a general partner if a unitholder participates in the “control” of our business. Our general partner generally has unlimited liability for the obligations of the partnership, such as its debts and environmental liabilities, except for those contractual obligations of the partnership that are expressly made without recourse to our general partner. In addition, the limitations on the liability of holders of limited partner interests for the obligations of a limited partnership have not been clearly established in some jurisdictions in which we do business.

Unitholders may have liability to repay distributions.

Under some circumstances, unitholders may have to repay amounts wrongfully returned or distributed to them. Under the Marshall Islands Limited Partnership Act (or the Marshall Islands Act), we may not make a distribution to unitholders if the distribution would cause our liabilities to exceed the fair value of our assets. Marshall Islands law provides that for a period of
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three years from the date of the impermissible distribution, limited partners who received the distribution and who knew at the time of the distribution that it violated Marshall Islands law will be liable to the limited partnership for the distribution amount. Assignees who become substituted limited partners are liable for the obligations of the assignor to make contributions to the partnership that are known to the assignee at the time it became a limited partner and for unknown obligations if the liabilities could be determined from the partnership agreement. Liabilities to partners on account of their partnership interest and liabilities that are non-recourse to the partnership are not counted for purposes of determining whether a distribution is permitted.

The Series A Preferred Units represent perpetual equity interests.

The Series A Preferred Units represent perpetual equity interests in us and, unlike our indebtedness, will not give rise to a claim for payment of a principal amount at a particular date. As a result, holders of the Series A Preferred Units may be required to bear the financial risks of an investment in the Series A Preferred Units for an indefinite period of time. In addition, the Series A Preferred Units rank junior to all our indebtedness and other liabilities, and any other Senior Securities we may issue in the future with respect to assets available to satisfy claims against us.

The Series A Preferred Units have not been rated.

We have not sought to obtain a rating for the Series A Preferred Units, and they may never be rated. It is possible, however, that one or more rating agencies might independently determine to assign a rating to the Series A Preferred Units or that we may elect to obtain a rating of our Series A Preferred Units in the future. In addition, we may elect to issue other securities for which we may seek to obtain a rating. If any ratings are assigned to the Series A Preferred Units in the future or if we issue other securities with a rating, such ratings, if they are lower than market expectations or are subsequently lowered or withdrawn, could adversely affect the market for or the market value of the Series A Preferred Units. Ratings only reflect the views of the issuing rating agency or agencies and such ratings could at any time be revised downward or withdrawn entirely at the discretion of the issuing rating agency. A rating is not a recommendation to purchase, sell or hold any particular security, including the Series A Preferred Units. Ratings do not reflect market prices or suitability of a security for a particular investor and any future rating of the Series A Preferred Units may not reflect all risks related to us and our business, or the structure or market value of the Series A Preferred Units.

We distribute all of our available cash to our limited partners and are not required to accumulate cash for the purpose of meeting our future obligations to holders of the Series A Preferred Units, which may limit the cash available to make distributions on the Series A Preferred Units.

Subject to the limitations in our partnership agreement, we distribute all of our available cash each quarter. “Available Cash” is defined in our partnership agreement, and it generally means, for each fiscal quarter, all cash on hand at the end of the quarter (including our proportionate share of cash on hand of certain subsidiaries we do not wholly own):

less the amount of cash reserves (including our proportionate share of cash reserves of certain subsidiaries we do not wholly own) established by our board of directors to:

provide for the proper conduct of our business (including reserves for future capital expenditures and for our anticipated credit needs);

comply with applicable law, any debt instruments, or other agreements;

provide funds for payments to holders of preferred units; or

provide funds for distributions to our unitholders for any one or more of the next four quarters; provided, however, our board of directors may not reserve funds for such future quarters if we would be unable to pay the minimum quarterly distribution plus any arrearages in the quarter for which available cash is being determined;

plus all cash on hand (including our proportionate share of cash on hand of certain subsidiaries we do not wholly own) on the date of determination of available cash for the quarter resulting from (1) working capital borrowings made after the end of the quarter and (2) cash distributions received after the end of the quarter from any of our equity interests in any person (other than our subsidiaries) which distributions are paid by such person in respect of operations conducted by such person during such quarter. Working capital borrowings are generally borrowings
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that are made under our credit agreements and in all cases are used solely for working capital purposes or to pay distributions to partners.

As a result, we do not expect to accumulate significant amounts of cash. Depending on the timing and amount of our cash distributions, these distributions could significantly reduce the cash available to us in subsequent periods to make payments on the Series A Preferred Units.

Our Series A Preferred Units are subordinated to our debt obligations, and your interests could be diluted by the issuance of additional limited partner interests, including additional Series A Preferred Units, and by other transactions.

Our Series A Preferred Units are subordinated to all of our existing and future indebtedness. As of December 31, 2019, our total debt was $1,216.9 million (net of deferred charges of $6.0 million), of which $180.8 million related to our lessor variable interest entity (“VIE”) that owns the Golar Eskimo. We have also agreed to provide a several guarantee of 50% of the outstanding principal, interest, expenses and other amounts payable by Hilli Corp (the disponent owner of the Hilli) under the arrangement pursuant to which Hilli Corp has sold and leased back the Hilli from a subsidiary of China State Shipbuilding Corporation, our 50% share of Hilli Corp’s indebtedness of $844.5 million amounted to $422.3 million as of December 31, 2019. We may incur additional debt under these or future credit facilities. The payment of principal and interest on our debt reduces cash available for distribution to us and on our limited partner interests, including the Series A Preferred Units.

The issuance of additional limited partner interests on a parity with or senior to our Series A Preferred Units would dilute the interests of the holders of our Series A Preferred Units, and any issuance of Senior Securities or Parity Securities or additional indebtedness could affect our ability to pay distributions on, redeem or pay the liquidation preference on our Series A Preferred Units. No provisions relating to our Series A Preferred Units protect the holders of our Series A Preferred Units in the event of a highly leveraged or other transaction, including a merger or the sale, lease or conveyance of all or substantially all our assets or business, which might adversely affect the holders of our Series A Preferred Units.

The Series A Preferred Units rank junior to any Senior Securities and pari passu with any Parity Securities.

Our Series A Preferred Units rank junior to any Senior Securities and pari passu with any Parity Securities and any other class or series of limited partner interests or other equity securities established after the original issue date of the Series A Preferred Units that is not expressly subordinated or senior to the Series A Preferred Units as to the payment of distributions and amounts payable upon liquidation, dissolution or winding up, whether voluntary or involuntary. If less than all distributions payable with respect to the Series A Preferred Units and any Parity Securities are paid, any partial payment shall be made pro rata with respect to Series A Preferred Units and any Parity Securities entitled to a distribution payment at such time in proportion to the aggregate amounts remaining due in respect of such units at such time.

The Series A Preferred Units are redeemable at our option.

We may, at our option, redeem all or, from time to time, part of the Series A Preferred Units on or after October 31, 2022. If we redeem your Series A Preferred Units, you will be entitled to receive a redemption price equal to $25.00 per unit plus accumulated and unpaid distributions to the date of redemption. It is likely that we may choose to exercise our optional redemption right when prevailing interest rates have declined, which would adversely affect your ability to reinvest your proceeds from the redemption in a comparable investment with an equal or greater yield to the yield on the Series A Preferred Units had such units not been redeemed. We may elect to exercise our partial redemption right on multiple occasions.

Holders of our Series A Preferred Units have extremely limited voting rights.

The voting rights of holders of our Series A Preferred Units will be extremely limited. Holders of the Series A Preferred Units generally have no voting rights. However, in the event that six quarterly distributions, whether consecutive or not, payable on Series A Preferred Units or any other Parity Securities are in arrears, the holders of Series A Preferred Units will have the right, voting together as a class with all other classes or series of Parity Securities upon which like voting rights have been conferred and are exercisable, to replace one of the members of our board of directors appointed by our general partner with a person nominated by such holders (unless the holders of Series A Preferred Units and Parity Securities upon which like voting rights have been conferred, voting as a class, have previously elected a member of our board of directors, and such director continues then to serve on the board of directors). The right of such holders of Series A Preferred Units to elect a member of our board of directors will continue until such time as all accumulated and unpaid distributions on the Series A Preferred Units have been paid in full.

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The Series A Preferred Units do not have a well-established trading market, which may negatively affect their market value and your ability to transfer or sell your units. In addition, the lack of a fixed redemption date for the Series A Preferred Units will increase your reliance on the secondary market for liquidity purposes.

The Series A Preferred Units do not have a well-established trading market. In addition, since the Series A Preferred Units have no stated maturity date, investors seeking liquidity will be limited to selling their units in the secondary market absent redemption by us. The Series A Preferred Units are listed on the NASDAQ, but there can be no assurance that the trading market for the units will be active, in which case the trading price of the Series A Preferred Units could be adversely affected and your ability to transfer your units will be limited. If an active trading market does develop on the NASDAQ, our Series A Preferred Units may trade at prices lower than the offering price. The trading price of our Series A Preferred Units depends on many factors, including:

prevailing interest rates;
the market for similar securities;
general economic and financial conditions;
our issuance of debt or preferred equity securities; and
our financial condition, results of operations and prospects.

As a Marshall Islands limited partnership with principal executive offices in Bermuda, and also having subsidiaries in the Marshall Islands and other offshore jurisdictions, our operations may be subject to economic substance requirements, which could harm our business.

We are a Marshall Islands limited partnership with principal executive offices in Bermuda. Our operating company and certain of our other subsidiaries are also Marshall Islands entities.

On December 5, 2017, following an assessment of the tax policies of various countries by the Code of Conduct Group for Business Taxation of the European Union (the “COCG”), the Council of the European Union (the “Council”) approved and published Council conclusions containing a list of “non-cooperative jurisdictions” for tax purposes. On March 12, 2019, the Council adopted a revised list of non-cooperative jurisdictions (the “2019 Conclusions”). In the 2019 Conclusions, Bermuda and the Republic of the Marshall Islands, among others, were placed by the EU on its list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes for failing to implement certain commitments previously made to the EU by the agreed deadline. However, it was announced by the Council on May 17, 2019 and on October 10, 2019 that Bermuda and the Marshall Islands, respectively, had been removed from the list of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions. EU member states have agreed upon a set of measures, which they can choose to apply against the listed countries, including increased monitoring and audits, withholding taxes, special documentation requirements and anti-abuse provisions. The European Commission has stated it will continue to support member states’ efforts to develop a more coordinated approach to sanctions for the listed countries in 2020. EU legislation prohibits EU funds from being channeled or transited through entities in non-cooperative jurisdictions.

The Marshall Islands and Bermuda have enacted or may enact economic substance laws and regulations with which we may be obligated to comply. For example, on December 17, 2018, the House of Assembly of Bermuda passed the Economic Substance Act 2018 of Bermuda (the “Economic Substance Act”), which became operative on December 31, 2018, along with the Economic Substance Regulations 2018 of Bermuda. The Economic Substance Act requires each registered entity to maintain a substantial economic presence in Bermuda and provides that a registered entity that carries on a relevant activity complies with economic substance requirements if (i) it is directed and managed in Bermuda, (ii) its core income-generating activities (as may be further prescribed) are undertaken in Bermuda with respect to the relevant activity, (iii) it maintains adequate physical presence in Bermuda, (iv) it has adequate full time employees in Bermuda with suitable qualifications and (v) it incurs adequate operating expenditure in Bermuda in relation to the relevant activity. New regulations adopted in the Marshall Islands (which came into force on January 1, 2019) require certain entities that carry out particular activities to comply with an economic substance test whereby the entity must show that it (i) is directed and managed in the Marshall Islands in relation to that relevant activity, (ii) carries out core income-generating activity in relation to that relevant activity in the Marshall Islands (although it is being understood and acknowledged by the regulators that income-generated activities for shipping companies will generally occur in international waters) and (iii) having regard to the level of relevant activity carried out in the Marshall Islands has (a) an adequate amount of expenditures in the Marshall Islands, (b) adequate physical presence in the Marshall Islands and (c) an adequate number of qualified employees in the Marshall Islands.

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If we fail to comply with our obligations under this legislation or any similar law applicable to us in any other jurisdictions, we could be subject to financial penalties and spontaneous disclosure of information to foreign tax officials, or could be struck from the register of companies, in related jurisdictions. Any of the foregoing could be disruptive to our business and could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial conditions and operating results.

We do not know: if the EU will add the Marshall Islands or Bermuda back to the list of non-cooperative jurisdictions; how quickly the EU would react to any changes in legislation of the Marshall Islands or Bermuda; or how EU banks or other counterparties will react while we or any of our subsidiaries remain as entities organized and existing under the laws of listed countries. The effect of the EU list of non-cooperative jurisdictions, and any noncompliance by us with any legislation adopted by applicable countries to achieve removal from the list, including economic substance regulations, could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial conditions and operating results.

Tax Risks

A change in tax laws in any country in which we operate could adversely affect us.

Tax laws and regulations are highly complex and subject to interpretation. Consequently, we and our subsidiaries are subject to changing tax laws, treaties and regulations in and between the countries in which we operate. Our tax expense is based on our interpretation of the tax laws in effect at the time the expense was incurred. A change in tax laws, treaties or regulations, or in the interpretation thereof, could result in a materially higher tax expense or a higher effective tax rate on our earnings. Such changes may include measures enacted in response to the ongoing initiatives in relation to fiscal legislation at an international level, such as the Action Plan on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes.

U.S. tax authorities could treat us as a “passive foreign investment company,” which would have adverse U.S. federal income tax consequences to U.S. unitholders.

A non-U.S. entity treated as a corporation for U.S. federal income tax purposes will be treated as a “passive foreign investment company” (or “PFIC”) for U.S. federal income tax purposes if at least 75.0% of its gross income for any taxable year consists of “passive income” or at least 50.0% of the average value of its assets produce, or are held for the production of, “passive income.” For purposes of these tests, “passive income” includes dividends, interest, gains from the sale or exchange of investment property, and rents and royalties other than rents and royalties that are received from unrelated parties in connection with the active conduct of a trade or business. For purposes of these tests, income derived from the performance of services does not constitute “passive income.” U.S. shareholders of a PFIC are subject to a disadvantageous U.S. federal income tax regime with respect to the income derived by the PFIC, the distributions they receive from the PFIC, and the gain, if any, they derive from the sale or other disposition of their interests in the PFIC.

Based on our current and projected method of operation, we believe that we were not a PFIC for any prior taxable year, and we expect that we will not be treated as a PFIC for the current or for any future taxable year. We believe that more than 25.0% of our gross income for each taxable year was or will be non-passive income and more than 50.0% of the average value of our assets for each such year was or will be held for the production of such non-passive income. This belief is based on certain valuations and projections regarding our assets, income and charters, and its validity is conditioned on the accuracy of such valuations and projections. While we believe such valuations and projections to be accurate, the shipping market is volatile and no assurance can be given that they will be accurate at any time in the future.

Moreover, there are legal uncertainties involved in determining whether the income derived from time-chartering activities constitutes rental income or income derived from the performance of services. In Tidewater Inc. v. United States, 565 F.3d 299 (5th Cir. 2009), the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit (or the "Fifth Circuit") held that income derived from certain time-chartering activities should be treated as rental income rather than services income for purposes of a provision of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (or the "Code") relating to foreign sales corporations. In that case, the Fifth Circuit did not address the definition of passive income or the PFIC rules; however, the reasoning of the case could have implications as to how the income from a time charter would be classified under such rules. If the reasoning of this case were extended to the PFIC context, the gross income we derive or are deemed to derive from our time-chartering activities may be treated as rental income, and we would likely be treated as a PFIC. In published guidance, the Internal Revenue Service (or the "IRS") stated that it disagreed with the holding in Tidewater, and specified that time charters similar to those at issue in the case should be treated as service contracts. We have not sought, and we do not expect to seek, an IRS ruling on the treatment of income generated from our time-chartering activities. As a result, the IRS or a court could disagree with our position. No assurance can be given that this result will not occur. In addition, although we intend to conduct our affairs in a manner to
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avoid, to the extent possible, being classified as a PFIC with respect to any taxable year, we cannot assure unitholders that the nature of our operations will not change in the future and that we will not become a PFIC in any taxable year. If the IRS were to find that we are or have been a PFIC for any taxable year (and regardless of whether we remain a PFIC for subsequent taxable years), our U.S. unitholders would face adverse U.S. federal income tax consequences. Please read “Item 10. Additional Information-E. Taxation-Material U.S. Federal Income Tax Considerations-U.S. Federal Income Taxation of U.S. Holders-PFIC Status and Significant Tax Consequences” for a more detailed discussion of the U.S. federal income tax consequences to U.S. unitholders if we are treated as a PFIC.

We may have to pay tax on U.S. source income, which would reduce our cash flow.

Under the Code, 50.0% of the gross transportation income of a vessel owning or chartering corporation, such as ourselves, that is attributable to transportation that either begins or ends, but that does not both begin and end, in the United States is characterized as U.S. source gross transportation income. U.S. source gross transportation income generally is subject to a 4.0% U.S. federal income tax without allowance for deduction unless the corporation qualifies for exemption from tax under Section 883 of the Code and the regulations promulgated thereunder.

We believe that we and each of our subsidiaries engaged in transportation will qualify for the Section 883 tax exemption for the foreseeable future, and we will take this position for U.S. federal income tax return reporting purposes. However, there are factual circumstances, including some that may be beyond our control that could cause us to lose the benefit of this tax exemption. In addition, our position that we qualify for this exemption is based upon legal authorities that do not expressly contemplate an organizational structure such as ours; specifically, although we have elected to be treated as a corporation for U.S. federal income tax purposes, we are organized as a limited partnership under Marshall Islands law. Therefore, we can give no assurance that the IRS will not take a different position regarding our qualification, or the qualification of any of our subsidiaries, for the Section 883 tax exemption.

If we or our subsidiaries are not entitled to this exemption under Section 883 for any taxable year, we or our subsidiaries generally would be subject to a 4.0% U.S. federal gross income tax on our U.S. source gross transportation income for such year. Our failure to qualify for the exemption under Section 883 could have a negative effect on our business and would result in decreased earnings available for distribution to our unitholders. The vessels in our fleet do not currently engage, and we do not expect that they will in the future engage, in transportation that begins and ends in the United States, and we do not currently anticipate providing any liquefaction, regasification or storage services within the territorial seas of the United States. If, notwithstanding this expectation, our subsidiaries earn income in the future from liquefaction, regasification or storage services in the United States or from transportation that begins and ends in the United States, that income would not be exempt from U.S. federal income tax under Section 883 of the Code and would be subject to a 21% net income tax in the United States, plus a 30% branch profits tax. Please read “Item 4. Information on the Partnership-B. Business Overview-Taxation of the Partnership-The Section 883 Exemption” for a more detailed discussion of the rules relating to qualification for the exemption under Section 883 and the consequences of failing to qualify for such an exemption.

Unitholders may be subject to income tax in one or more non-U.S. jurisdictions, including the United Kingdom, as a result of owning our units if, under the laws of any such jurisdiction, we are considered to be carrying on business there. Such laws may require unitholders to file a tax return with, and pay taxes to, those jurisdictions.

We conduct our affairs and cause or influence each of our subsidiaries to operate its business in a manner that minimizes income taxes imposed upon us and our subsidiaries and that may be imposed upon a unitholder as a result of owning our units. However, because we are organized as a partnership, there is a risk in some jurisdictions, including the United Kingdom, that our activities or the activities of our subsidiaries may be attributed to our unitholders for tax purposes if, under the laws of such jurisdiction, we are considered to be carrying on business there. If a unitholder is subject to tax in any such jurisdiction, such unitholder may be required to file a tax return with, and to pay tax in, that jurisdiction based on such unitholder’s allocable share of our income. We may be required to reduce distributions to a unitholders on account of any tax withholding obligations imposed upon us by that jurisdiction in respect of such allocation to such unitholder. The United States will not allow a unitholder to claim a tax credit for any foreign income taxes that such unitholder directly or indirectly incurs by virtue of an investment in us.

We believe we can conduct our affairs in a manner that does not result in our unitholders being considered to be carrying on business in the United Kingdom solely as a consequence of the acquisition, ownership, disposition or redemption of our units. However, the question of whether either we or any of our subsidiaries will be treated as carrying on business in any jurisdiction, including the United Kingdom, will be largely a question of fact to be determined through an analysis of contractual arrangements, including the fleet management agreements that our subsidiaries have entered into with Golar Management, certain other subsidiaries of Golar and certain third-party vessel managers and the Management and
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Administrative Services Agreement that we have entered into with Golar Management, as well as through an analysis of the manner in which we conduct business or operations, all of which may change over time. Furthermore, the laws of the United Kingdom or any other jurisdiction may also change, which could cause that jurisdiction’s taxing authorities to determine that we are carrying on business in such jurisdiction and that we or our unitholders are subject to its taxation laws. In addition to the potential for taxation of our unitholders, any additional taxes imposed on us or any of our subsidiaries will reduce our cash available for distribution.

We will be subject to taxes, which will reduce our cash available for distribution to you.

Some of our subsidiaries will be subject to tax in the jurisdictions in which they are organized or operate, reducing the amount of cash available for distribution. In computing our tax obligation in these jurisdictions, we are required to take various tax accounting and reporting positions on matters that are not entirely free from doubt and for which we have not received rulings from the governing authorities. We cannot assure you that upon review of these positions the applicable authorities will agree with our positions. For example, the Indonesian tax authorities have notified one of our subsidiaries, PTGI, that it is cancelling the waiver of Value Added Tax (“VAT”) importation in the approximate amount of $24.0 million for the NR Satu. In February 2018, PTGI filed a Judicial Review with the Supreme Court of Indonesia, but in December 2018, the Supreme Court of Indonesia ruled against PTGI with regards the validity of wavier cancellation. However, we do not believe it probable that a liability exists as a result of this ruling, as no Tax Underpayment Assessment Notice has been received within the statute of limitations period. Should we receive such notice from the tax authorities, we intend to challenge the legality of the assessment. In any event, we believe PTGI will be indemnified by PTNR for any VAT liability as well as related interest and penalties under our time charter party agreement entered into with them. In December 2019, the Indonesian tax authorities issued tax assessments for land & buildings tax to our subsidiary, PTGI for the years 2015 to 2019 inclusive in relation to the NR Satu, for the amount of $3.5 million. We have subsequently paid the tax assessed to the tax authorities during January 2020 to avoid further penalties. However, we intend to appeal against the assessments for the land & buildings tax and we believe we have reasonable grounds for success, on the basis of no precedent set from past case law and new legislation effective prospectively from January 1, 2020, that now specifically list FSRUs as being an object liable to Land & Buildings Tax, when it previously did not. A successful challenge by a tax authority could result in additional tax imposed on our subsidiaries, further reducing the cash available for distribution. In addition, changes in our operations could result in additional tax being imposed on us, our operating company or our or its subsidiaries in jurisdictions in which operations are conducted. Please read “Item 4. Information on the Partnership-B. Business Overview-Taxation of the Partnership” and note 26 “Other Commitments and Contingencies” in our consolidated financial statements.



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Item 4.                                Information on the Partnership
 
A.           History and Development of the Partnership
 
We are a publicly traded limited partnership that was formed on September 24, 2007, under the laws of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, as a wholly owned subsidiary of Golar LNG Limited, the world’s largest independent owner and operator of marine-based LNG midstream infrastructure, to own and operate Floating Storage Regasification Units (“FSRUs”) and LNG carriers under long-term charters.

We completed our IPO in April 2011 and from the time of our first annual general meeting in December 2012, four of the seven members of our board became electable by the common unitholders and because Golar no longer has the power to control our board of directors, we are no longer considered to be under common control with Golar.

We intend to leverage the relationships, expertise and reputation of Golar and its affiliates, to re-contract our vessels that have come off contract and are seeking profitable new employment opportunities and to pursue potential growth opportunities when market conditions permit. As of April 16, 2020, we have a fleet of six FSRUs, four LNG carriers and an interest in a floating liquefied natural gas ("FLNG") vessel, all of which were either contributed by or acquired from Golar. Of the ten vessels, we acquired six vessels and the interest in an FLNG since our IPO in 2011 for an aggregate purchase price of $2,551.8 million.

In July 2018, we acquired an interest in the Hilli, a FLNG vessel through the acquisition of 50% of the common units (the “Hilli Common Units”) in Golar Hilli LLC (“Hilli LLC”) (the “Hilli Acquisition”) for a purchase price of $658 million, less 50% of the net lease obligations under the Hilli Facility and a post-closing purchase price adjustment.

We maintain our principal executive headquarters at 2nd Floor, S.E. Pearman Building, 9 Par-la-Ville Road, Hamilton, HM11, Bermuda. Our telephone number at that address is +1 (441) 2954705. Our principal administrative offices are located at 6th Floor, The Zig Zag, 70 Victoria Street, London, SW1E 6SQ, United Kingdom.

The SEC maintains an internet site that contains reports, proxy and information statements, and other information that we file electronically with the SEC. These documents can be obtained from the SEC’s website at (http://www.sec.gov) or from the “SEC fillings” tab in the “Investor Relations” section of our website (www.golarlngpartners.com).

B.           Business Overview
 
Our Business
 
Our current business is owning and operating FSRUs, LNG carriers and an interest in a FLNG. Our long-term business objective is to charter our existing vessels under long term charters and to increase our presence in the LNG midstream industry through the acquisition of additional vessels, when market conditions permit, in order to provide steady and predictable quarterly distributions to unitholders over time.

Pursuant to our omnibus agreements with Golar and Golar Power, we will have the opportunity to purchase additional FSRUs and LNG carriers. Any such acquisition will be subject to the approval of our board of directors and the conflicts committee. Please read “Item 7. Major Unitholders and Related Party Transactions-Related Party Transactions-IPO Omnibus Agreement” and “Golar Power Omnibus Agreement”. Any such acquisition will be subject to the approval of our board of directors and the conflicts committee. See “Item 7. Major Unitholders and Related Party Transactions-B. Related Party Transactions.”

Our pursuit of further acquisitions is dependent upon our ability to fund them.
 

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Our Business Strategies
 
Our primary long-term business objective is to provide steady and predictable quarterly distributions to unitholders over time. However, in April 2020 we announced an update regarding our financial strategy and ongoing initiatives in response to the recent COVID-19 induced deterioration in the macro-economic environment. This included a decision to reduce our quarterly common unit distribution. We will utilize the cash retained to reduce our debt, thus strengthening our balance sheet while providing enhanced financial flexibility to consider capital allocation priorities over time. The Partnership will continue its review of its structure and strategy to maximize long-term unitholder value. We also intend to achieve our long-term business objective, as stated above, by executing the following strategies:

Pursue strategic and accretive acquisitions of FSRUs, FLNGs and LNG carriers. We believe our affiliation with Golar and its affiliates positions us to pursue a broader array of growth opportunities, including strategic and accretive acquisitions from or with Golar, Golar Power or from third parties. Since our IPO, we have acquired six vessels and an interest in a FLNG from Golar.
Compete for long-term charter contracts for FSRUs, FLNGs and LNG carriers when attractive opportunities arise. We intend to participate in competitive tender processes and engage in negotiated transactions with potential charterers for FSRUs, FLNGs and LNG carriers when attractive opportunities arise by leveraging the strength of the industry expertise of Golar.
Manage and invest in our fleet and our customer relationships to provide a stable base of cash flows and superior operating performance. We intend to manage the stability of cash flows in our fleet by actively seeking the extension or renewal of existing charters, investing in our vessels where appropriate to improve their capability and entering into new long-term charters with customers and identifying potential business opportunities with new high-quality charterers.
 
We can provide no assurance, however, that we will be able to implement our business strategies described above. For further discussion of the risks that we face, please read “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors”.

The Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Industry

The need to transport natural gas over long distances across oceans led to the development of the international LNG trade. LNG shipping provides a cost-effective and safe means for transporting natural gas overseas. The LNG is transported overseas in specially built tanks on double-hulled ships to a receiving terminal, where it is offloaded and stored in heavily insulated tanks. In regasification facilities at the receiving terminal, the LNG is returned to its gaseous state (or regasified) and then carried by pipeline or small scale vessels for distribution to power stations and other natural gas customers.

The following diagram displays the flow of natural gas and LNG from production to consumption.

LNG Supply Chain

gmlp-20191231_g1.jpg

Exploring and drilling: Natural gas is produced and transported via pipeline to natural gas liquefaction facilities located along the coast of the producing country. The advent of floating liquefaction will also see more gas being piped to offshore liquefaction facilities.

Production and liquefaction: Natural gas is cooled to a temperature of minus 162 degrees celsius, transforming the gas into a liquid, which reduces its volume to approximately 1/600th of its volume in a gaseous state. The reduced volume
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facilitates economical storage and transportation by ship over long distances, enabling countries with limited natural gas reserves and limited access to long-distance transmission pipelines or concerns over security of supply to meet their demand for natural gas.

Shipping: LNG is loaded onto specially designed, double-hulled LNG carriers and transported overseas from the liquefaction facility to the receiving terminal.

Regasification: At the receiving terminal (either onshore or aboard FSRUs), the LNG is returned to its gaseous state, or regasified. It may also be transferred to small scale LNG vessels that deliver LNG to users nearby for consumption or onward distribution by truck in isotainers .

Storage, distribution, marketing & power generation: Once regasified, the natural gas is stored in specially designed facilities or transported to power producers and natural gas consumers via pipelines.

The basic costs of producing, liquefying, transporting and regasifying LNG are much higher than in an equivalent oil supply chain. This high unit cost of supply has, in the recent past, led to the pursuit of larger land-based facilities in order to achieve improved economies of scale. To address the escalating costs, more cost competitive FLNG and FSRU solutions across a spectrum of project sizes have been developed by Golar. We believe that over the long term, certain previously uneconomic pockets of gas will be capable of being be monetized and this will add to reserves and further underpin the long term attractiveness of gas. Our low cost FSRU solutions make it possible even for relatively small end users to access this competitively priced LNG.

Our Operations

In 2018, through our investment in 50% of the Hilli Common Units, we purchased an interest in a FLNG. Due to this new strategy coupled with changes in our methods of internal reporting and management structure, management has concluded that we provide three distinct services and operate in three reportable segments: FSRUs, LNG carriers and FLNG.

FSRUs are vessels that are permanently located offshore to regasify LNG. Six of our vessels are FSRUs;

LNG carriers are vessels that transport LNG and are compatible with many LNG loading and receiving terminals globally. Four of our vessels are LNG carriers; and

FLNGs are vessels that are moored above an offshore natural gas field on a long-term basis. A FLNG receives, liquefies and stores LNG at sea and transfers it to LNG carriers that berth while offshore.

The majority of the FSRUs in our current fleet are operating in Brazil, Kuwait, Indonesia, Jamaica and Jordan under time charters. Our uncontracted vessels are available for short term employment in the spot market.

FSRUs
 
Floating LNG regasification projects first emerged as a solution to the difficulties and protracted process of obtaining permits to build shore-based LNG reception facilities (especially along the North American coasts). Due to their offshore location, FSRU facilities are significantly less likely than onshore facilities to be met with resistance in local communities, which is especially important in the case of a facility that is intended to serve a highly populated area where there is a high demand for natural gas. As a result, it is typically easier and faster for FSRUs to obtain necessary permits than for comparable onshore facilities. FSRU projects can typically be completed in less time (2 to 3 years compared to 4 or more years for land based projects) and at a significantly lower cost (20-50% less) than land based alternatives. In addition, FSRUs offer a more flexible solution than land based terminals. They can be used as an LNG carrier, a regasification shuttle vessel or permanently moored as an FSRU. FSRUs offer a fast track regasification solution for markets that need immediate access to LNG supply. FSRUs can also be utilized as bridging solutions until a land-based terminal is constructed. In this way, FSRUs are both a replacement for, and complement to, land-based regasification alternatives.

As of April 16, 2020, our FSRU vessels had an average age of 12 years (post retrofitting, including new builds). The following table provides additional information about the six FSRUs in our fleet. Unless otherwise indicated, we hold a 100% economic interest in the vessels.  
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FSRU Vessel
Capacity
(cbm)
Base Offtake
Capacity
(Bcf/d)
Year of
Delivery
Containment SystemYear AcquiredYear of FSRU RetrofittingCharterer
Charter
Expiration
Charter
Extension
Option
Periods
Golar Spirit129,000  0.251981Moss
Upon formation(1)(2)
2007
None(3)
Not applicableNot applicable
Golar Winter138,000  0.502004Membrane
At IPO(2)
2008Petrobras
September 2024(4)
None
Golar Freeze125,000  0.481977MossOctober 20112010
see below (5)
see below (5)
see below (5)
NR Satu(6)
125,000  0.501977MossJuly 20122012PTNRDecember 20222025
Golar Igloo170,000  0.902014MembraneMarch 2014Not applicableKNPC
March 2022 (7)
see below(7)
Golar Eskimo160,000  0.502014MembraneJanuary 2015Not applicableJordanJune 2025None
(1)Upon our formation, Golar contributed to us a 100% interest in the subsidiary which leased the Golar Spirit.
(2)In connection with our IPO, Golar transferred to us a 100% interest in the subsidiary which leased the Golar Winter and the legal title to the Golar Spirit.
(3)As of April 16, 2020, the Golar Spirit remains in lay-up awaiting new employment.
(4)The charter initially had a term of 10 years, expiring in 2019. However, in return for certain vessel modifications made at the request of Petrobras the charter was extended by a further five years to 2024. These modifications were completed in August 2013.
(5)Commissioning of the Golar Freeze for its 15-year time charter offshore Jamaica ("Golar Freeze Charter") commenced in January 2019 with an energy and logistics company. On May 15, 2019, we executed a modification to the Golar Freeze Charter which triggered a change in lease classification from an operating lease to a sales-type lease. This classification change resulted in the de-recognition of the vessel asset carrying value and the recognition of investment in the leased vessel, net, in our consolidated balance sheet. For purposes of fleet information, we continue to present the Golar Freeze under our FSRU fleet. The charter includes an option, upon twelve months written notice of a termination not before the third anniversary of the charter commencement date in order to substitute the FSRU for an alternative vessel but only if certain throughput targets have not been achieved by the charterer. In this event we have a matching right. The charter also includes a 5-year extension option, we have assumed that this option will not be exercised. (See “Item 5—Operating and Financial Review and Prospects—Significant Developments in 2019 and Early 2020”).
(6)We hold all of the voting stock and control all of the economic interests in PT Golar Indonesia (“PTGI”), the company that owns and operates the NR Satu, pursuant to a Shareholders’ Agreement with the other shareholder of PTGI, PT Pesona. PT Pesona holds the remaining 51% interest in the issued share capital of PTGI.
(7)In February 2020, the charterer signed a two-year contract of continued LNG storage and regasification services beginning in March 2020. This contract may be further extended by KNPC through to December 2022.
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The below table summarizes the key details of the hire rates for each contracted FSRU in our fleet:
VesselCapital cost componentOperating cost componentOtherChanges to hire rate in the extension period (if applicable)
Golar WinterIncreases on a bi-annual basis based on a cost of living index and as required for Owner to be kept whole for any changes in local tax law.Fluctuates annually based on changes to a specified cost of living index and U.S. dollar foreign exchange index.Drydocking costs are included as part of the capital cost component.Not applicable
NR SatuThis also includes a mooring capital element.Annual adjustment based on actual costs.
There is also a tax component.(1)
The capital element will decrease 12% in 2023, then by a further 7% in 2024 and 2025.
Golar Igloo(2)
The hire rate is an all-inclusive daily fixed rate.Not applicableNot applicableNot applicable
Golar EskimoFixed for first five years of hire. Decreases by 6.4% after the first five years of hire.Increases by a fixed percentage per annum.Not applicableNot applicable
Golar FreezeThe hire rate is fixed subject to annual look-back for volume based adjustments.Escalated annually from the second year by either a fixed percentage or changes to a specified cost of living index, to be agreed between the parties.Not applicableNot applicable
(1)The tax element shall be adjusted only when there is any change in Indonesian tax laws (including any changes in interpretation or implementation thereof) or any treaty to which Indonesia is party or the invalidity of any tax assumptions used in determining the tax element.
(2)The Golar Igloo provides floating storage and regasification services to KNPC for a ten-month period each year (or the Regasification Season) until the termination of the charter. The Regasification Season commences, at KNPC’s election, between March 1 and March 31 of each year (or the Start Date) and ends ten months later (or the End Date). During the period between the End Date with respect to one Regasification Season and the Start Date of the next succeeding Regasification Season (or the Regasification Off-Season), we may charter the Golar Igloo to other customers under short-term charters.

gmlp-20191231_g2.jpg
FSRU Golar Freeze undergoing drydocking prior to deployment

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LNG Carriers
 
LNG carriers are designed to transport LNG between liquefaction facilities and import terminals for regasification after the natural gas is liquefied. Our LNG carriers utilizes the LNG that naturally boils off during transportation for their propulsion system.

According to industry analysts, based on the ramp up profile of LNG terminals that recently commenced operations, together with new facilities scheduled to commence operations in 2020, 30 million tons of new LNG, mainly from the United States, will be available in 2020. It was previously assumed that most of the US produced LNG would be destined for the Far East however a significant portion has recently shipped to Europe due to lower than expected Asian demand that contributed to low LNG prices, making transportation over extended distances uneconomic. The lower than anticipated ton-mile demand means that the current global fleet of LNG carriers and those LNG carriers expected to be delivered in 2020 will likely be sufficient to carry this expected new production. However the impact of recent COVID-19 outbreak on regional LNG demand and LNG prices is adding a high degree of volatility to current trade patterns. As a result, it is not possible to forecast the LNG vessel supply/demand balance for 2020 with any degree of precision.

As of April 16, 2020, our LNG carriers had an average age of 16 years. The following table provides additional information about the four LNG carriers in our current fleet. Unless otherwise indicated, we hold a 100% economic interest in the vessels.
LNG Carrier
Capacity
(cbm)
Year of
Delivery
Containment SystemYear AcquiredCharterer
Charter
Expiration
Charter Extension Option Periods
Golar Mazo(1)
135,2252000MossUpon formationNot applicableNot applicableNot applicable
Methane Princess(1)
138,0002003MembraneUpon formationRoyal Dutch ShellAugust 2024Five years plus five years
Golar Grand145,7002006MembraneNovember 2012Major international Oil and Gas companyMay 2021
Terms extending up to six years(2)
Golar Maria145,7002006MembraneFebruary 2013
Spot market(3)
Not applicable(3)
Not applicable(3)
(1)Upon our formation, Golar contributed to us a 100% interest in certain subsidiaries which owned a 60% interest in the Golar Mazo and which leased the Golar Spirit and the Methane Princess. We currently own a 60% interest in the Golar Mazo, and Chinese Petroleum Corporation holds the remaining 40% interest. As of April 16, 2020, the Golar Mazo was being prepared to be placed in lay-up, however our lay-up plans are subject to change at short notice due to measures in response to COVID-19.
(2)The charter initially had a term of two years. The charter was extended in February 2019 for a year and in February 2020 for another year . The charterer has options to extend the charter by two one year periods and two further periods of up to two years each.
(3)The Golar Maria will be available in the spot and short-term market between April 2020 through to late 2020 when the vessel will commence a two-year charter. This charter will include an option to extend up to three one year periods.

The below table summarizes the key details of the hire rates for the LNG carriers in our fleet on long-term charter:
VesselCapital cost componentOperating cost componentChanges to hire rate in the extension period (if applicable)
Methane PrincessFixed.Increases by a fixed percentage per annum.Reduces by approximately 37%.
Golar GrandThe hire rate is an all-inclusive daily fixed rate.The hire rate during the extension periods will be similar to the current level.

FLNG

Compared to onshore terminals, the FLNG industry is young. FLNG projects are a solution for stranded gas reserves (such as lean gas sourced from offshore fields) for which geographical, technical and economic limitations restrict the ability to convert these gas reserves to LNG. FLNGs offer a viable economic solution to the traditional giant land-based projects as they are able to be re-deployed. Golar’s liquefaction solution places liquefaction technology on board an existing LNG carrier using a rapid low-cost execution model resulting in a vessel conversion and commissioning time of approximately four years. Golar is the only company to have entered into agreements for the long-term employment of FLNGs based on the conversion of an existing LNG carrier.

We currently own 50% of the Common Units of Hilli LLC which owns Golar Hilli Corporation (“Hilli Corp”), the disponent owner of the FLNG, the Hilli.
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gmlp-20191231_g3.jpg
FLNG Hilli Episeyo on her way to Cameroon
Our Charters
 
The services of our FSRUs, LNG carriers and FLNG are provided to their charterers for a fixed period at a specified hire or tolling rate pursuant to time charters or liquefaction tolling agreements. Under a time charter, the vessel owner provides crewing and other services related to the vessel’s operation which include repairs and maintenance, insurance, stores, lube oils and communication expenses as well as periodic drydocking costs. These costs related to the vessel’s operation are included in the daily rate, and the charterer is responsible for substantially all of the vessel voyage costs, which include fuel, port and canal fees, LNG boil-off, cargo loading and unloading expenses, canal tolls, agency fees and commissions. For FSRUs, the charterer is also responsible for providing, maintaining, repairing and operating certain facilities at the unloading port such as sufficient mooring infrastructure for LNG vessels to be berthed alongside and a high pressure send-out pipeline.

Certain of our charters provide for the payment by the charterer of an all-inclusive daily fixed rate. The hire rate for our FSRU vessels and LNG Carriers is primarily made up of two components:

Capital cost component - primarily relates to the cost of the vessel and is structured to meet that cost and provide a return on investor capital. The capital cost component is constant for the duration of the entire charter except for the Golar Winter and Golar Eskimo.

Operating cost component - intended to compensate us for vessel operating expenses including management fees. This component is generally established at the beginning of the charter and typically escalates annually on a fixed percentage or fluctuates annually based on changes in a specified consumer price index or foreign exchange rate.

Under time charters, hire is payable monthly. Under all of our charters, hire is payable in U.S. Dollars, except for the operating cost component for the Golar Winter, which is payable in Brazilian Reais.

Our interest in the FLNG vessel provides floating liquefied natural gas tolling services based on a liquefaction tolling agreement. See “Item 5—Operating and Financial Review and Prospects—Results of Operations.”

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The hire rate payable for each of our vessels may be reduced if they do not perform to certain of their contractual specifications or if we are in breach of any of our representations and warranties in the charter. When a vessel is “off-hire” or not available for service, the charterer generally is not required to pay the hire or toll rate and we are responsible for all costs. Prolonged off-hire may lead to vessel substitution or termination of the time charter. A vessel generally will be deemed off-hire if there is a specified time it is not available for the charterer’s use due to, among other things: operational deficiencies, drydocking for repairs, maintenance or inspection, equipment breakdowns, or delays due to accidents, crewing strikes, certain vessel detentions or similar problems; or our failure to maintain the vessel in compliance with its specifications and contractual standards or to provide the required crew.

See note 6 “Segment Information” in our consolidated financial statements for information regarding our significant customers.
 
Competition

We operate in markets that are highly competitive and based primarily on supply and demand. As the FSRU market continues to grow and mature there are new competitors entering the market. Existing competitors have also ordered additional FSRUs. Previous expectations of rapid growth in the FSRU market gave owners the confidence to place orders for FSRUs before securing charters. This has led to more competition for mid- and long-term FSRU charters. Competitive pressure in this market has since resulted in a significant reduction in new FSRU orders by both existing competitors and new entrants.

Competition for these charters is based primarily on price, operational track record, LNG storage capacity, efficiency of the regasification process, vessel availability, size, age and condition of the vessel, relationships with LNG carrier users and reputation of the operator. In addition, some FSRUs may operate as LNG carriers during periods of increased FSRU competition.
 
The FLNG industry is in an early stage of development, and we do not currently face significant competition from other providers of FLNG services. As of April 16, 2020, there are currently only four operating FLNGs worldwide, including the Hilli. We anticipate that other companies, including marine transportation companies with strong reputations and extensive resources and experience, will enter the FLNG industry at some point in the future, resulting in greater competition.

Seasonality

Historically, LNG trade, and therefore charter rates, increased in the winter months and eased in the summer months as demand for LNG for heating in the Northern Hemisphere rose in colder weather and fell in warmer weather. In general, the LNG vessel industry has become less dependent on the seasonal transport of LNG than a decade ago. The advent of FSRUs has opened up new markets and uses for LNG, spreading consumption somewhat more evenly over the year. There is a higher seasonal demand during the summer months due to energy requirements for air conditioning in some markets or reduced availability of hydro power in others and a pronounced higher seasonal demand during the winter months for heating in other markets. The vessel market is somewhat weaker in the period between winter and summer.

Our vessels that operate under long-term charters are not subject to the effect of seasonal variations in demand, with the exception of the Golar Igloo, whose charter specifies a regasification season of ten months, extendable at the option of the charterer. For our vessels that are available for charter in the spot market, our revenue may be subject to the effect of seasonal variations in demand.

Vessel Maintenance and Management
 
Safety is our top priority. Our vessels are operated in a manner intended to protect the safety and health of our employees, the general public and the environment. We actively manage the risks inherent in our business and are committed to eliminating incidents that threaten safety, such as groundings, fires and collisions. We are also committed to reducing emissions and waste generation. We have established key performance indicators to facilitate regular monitoring of our operational performance. We set targets on an annual basis to drive continuous improvement, and we review performance indicators monthly to determine if remedial action is necessary to reach our targets. 

Under our charters, we are responsible for the technical management of the vessels which Golar, through its subsidiaries, assists us, by managing our vessel operations, maintaining a technical department to monitor and audit our vessel manager operations and providing expertise in various functions critical to our operations. This affords an efficient and cost effective operation and, pursuant to administrative services agreements with certain subsidiaries of Golar, access to human resources, financial and other administrative functions.
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These functions are supported by on board and onshore systems for maintenance, inventory, purchasing and budget management. In addition, Golar’s day-to-day focus on cost control will be applied to our operations. To some extent, the uniform design of some of our vessels and the adoption of common equipment standards should also result in operational efficiencies, including with respect to crew training and vessel management, equipment operation and repair, and spare parts ordering.
See “Item 7. Major Unitholders and Related Party Transactions—B. Related Party Transactions—Our Management Agreements.”

Risk of Loss, Insurance and Risk Management
 
The operation of any vessel, including LNG carriers, FSRUs and FLNGs, has inherent risks. These risks include mechanical failure, personal injury, collision, property loss, vessel or cargo loss or damage and business interruption due to political circumstances in foreign countries and/or war risk situations, hostilities or pandemics. In addition, there is always an inherent possibility of marine disaster, including explosion, spills and other environmental mishaps, and the liabilities arising from owning and operating vessels in international trade. We believe that our present insurance coverage is adequate to protect us against the accident related risks involved in the conduct of our business and that we maintain appropriate levels of environmental damage and pollution insurance coverage consistent with standard industry practice. However, not all risks can be insured, and there can be no guarantee that any specific claim will be paid, or that we will always be able to obtain adequate insurance coverage at reasonable rates.

We have obtained hull and machinery insurance on all our vessels against marine and war risks, which include the risks of damage to our vessels, salvage or towing costs, and also insure against actual or constructive total loss of any of our vessels. However, our insurance policies contain deductible amounts for which we will be responsible. We have also arranged additional total loss coverage for each vessel. This coverage, which is called hull interest and freight interest coverage, provides us additional coverage in the event of the total loss of a vessel.

We have also obtained loss of hire insurance to protect us against loss of income in the event one of our vessels cannot be employed due to damage that is covered under the terms of our hull and machinery insurance. Under our loss of hire policies, our insurer will pay us the daily rate agreed in respect of each vessel for each day, in excess of a certain number of deductible days, for the time that the vessel is out of service as a result of damage. The maximum coverage varies from 180 days to 360 days, depending on the vessel. The number of deductible days varies from 14 days to 60 days, depending on the vessel and type of damage (e.g. whether the claim arises from either machinery or hull damage).

Protection and indemnity insurance, which covers our third-party legal liabilities in connection with our shipping activities, is provided by mutual protection and indemnity (“P&I”) associations, or P&I clubs. This includes third-party liability and other expenses related to the injury or death of crew members, passengers and other third-party persons, loss or damage to cargo, claims arising from collisions with other vessels or from contact with jetties or wharves and other damage to other third-party property, including pollution arising from oil or other substances, and other related costs, including wreck removal. Subject to the capping discussed below, our coverage, except for pollution, is unlimited.

The current protection and indemnity insurance coverage for pollution is $250 million per incident for the Hilli and $1 billion per vessel per incident for all other vessels. The thirteen P&I clubs that comprise the International Group of Protection and Indemnity Clubs insure approximately 90% of the world's commercial tonnage and have entered into a pooling agreement to reinsure each association's liabilities. Each P&I club has capped its exposure in this pooling agreement so that the maximum claim covered by the pool and its reinsurance would be approximately $8.2 billion per accident or occurrence. We are a member of Gard and Skuld P&I Clubs. As a member of these P&I clubs, we are subject to a call for additional premiums based on the clubs' claims record, as well as the claims record of all other members of the P&I clubs comprising the International Group. However, our P&I clubs have reinsured the risk of additional premium calls to limit our additional exposure. This reinsurance is subject to a cap, and there is the risk that the full amount of the additional call would not be covered by this reinsurance.

The insurers providing the hull and machinery, hull and cargo interests, protection and indemnity and loss of hire insurances have confirmed that they will consider FSRUs as vessels for the purpose of providing insurance. For the FSRUs we have also arranged an additional comprehensive general liability insurance. This type of insurance is common for offshore operations and is additional to the P&I insurance.

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Our operations utilize Golar’s thorough risk management program that includes, among other things, computer-aided risk analysis tools, maintenance and assessment programs, a seafarers' competence training program, seafarers' workshops and membership in emergency response organizations. We expect to benefit from Golar’s commitment to safety and environmental protection as certain of its subsidiaries assist us in managing our vessel operations.

Classification, Inspection and Maintenance
 
Every large, commercial seagoing vessel must be “classed” by a classification society. A classification society certifies that a vessel is “in class,” signifying that the vessel has been built and maintained in accordance with the rules of the vessel's country of registry and the international conventions of which that country is a member. In addition, where surveys are required by international conventions and corresponding laws and ordinances of a flag state, the classification society will undertake them on application or by official order, acting on behalf of the authorities concerned.
 
For maintenance of the class certificate, regular and extraordinary surveys of hull, machinery, including the electrical plant and any special equipment classed, are required to be performed by the classification society, to ensure continuing compliance.  Vessels are drydocked at least once during a five-year class cycle for inspection of the underwater parts and for repairs related to inspections. If any defects are found, the classification surveyor will issue a “recommendation” which must be rectified by the shipowner within prescribed time limits. The classification society also undertakes on request of the flag state other surveys and checks that are required by the regulations and requirements of that flag state. These surveys are subject to agreements made in each individual case and/or to the regulations of the country concerned.
 
Most insurance underwriters make it a condition for insurance coverage that a vessel be certified as “in class” by a classification society, which is a member of the International Association of Classification Societies. With the exception of the Golar Mazo, which is certified by Lloyds Register, all other vessels in our current fleet are each certified by Det Norske Veritas GL ("DNV-GL"). All of our operating vessels have been awarded International Safety Management (“ISM”) certification and are currently “in class”, except for the Golar Spirit which is currently in lay-up and Golar Mazo which will be placed in lay-up shortly.

We carry out inspections of the vessels on a regular basis; both at sea and while the vessels are in port. The results of these inspections, which are conducted both in port and while underway, result in a report containing recommendations for improvements to the overall condition of the vessel, maintenance, safety and crew welfare. Based in part on these evaluations, we create and implement a program of continual maintenance and improvement for our vessels and their systems.

Environmental and Other Regulations
 
General
 
Our business and the operation of our vessels are subject to various international treaties and conventions and to the applicable local national and subnational laws and regulations of the countries (U.S., Indonesia, Brazil, Kuwait, Jamaica and Jordan) in which our vessels operate or are registered. These local laws and regulations might require us to obtain governmental permits and authorizations before we may conduct certain activities. Failure to comply with these laws or to obtain the necessary business and technical licenses could result in sanctions including suspension and/or freezing of the business and responsibility for all damages arising from any violation.

The local governments may also periodically revise their environmental laws and regulations or adopt new ones, and the effects of new or revised laws and regulations on our operations cannot be predicted. Although we believe that we are substantially in compliance with applicable environmental laws and regulations and have all permits, licenses and certificates required for our vessels, future non-compliance or failure to maintain necessary permits or approvals could require us to incur substantial costs or temporarily suspend the operation of one or more of our vessels. There can be no assurance that additional significant costs and liabilities will not be incurred to comply with such current and future laws and regulations, or that such laws and regulations will not have a material effect on our operations.

International environmental treaties and conventions, U.S. environmental laws and regulations that apply to the operation of our vessels are described below. Other countries in which we operate or in which our vessels are registered have or may in the future have laws and regulations that are similar in nature to the U.S. laws referenced below. GMN provides technical management services for our vessels, is certified in accordance with the International Maritime Organization's (“IMO”) standard for ISM and operates in compliance with the International Standards Organization (“ISO”) Environmental Management Standard for the management of significant environmental aspects associated with the ownership and operation of our fleet. 
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International Maritime Regulations of LNG Vessels
 
The IMO provides international regulations governing safety, security and environmental aspects of shipping and international maritime trade. For a discussion of IMO’s environmental regulations, see “Air Emissions”, “Anti-Fouling Requirements,” “Ballast Water Management Convention” and “Regulation of Greenhouse Gas Emissions”.

Among other requirements, the IMO's ISM Code requires the party with operational control of a vessel to develop an extensive safety management system and the adoption of a policy for safety and environmental protection setting forth instructions and procedures for operating its vessels safely and also describing procedures for responding to emergencies. Our ship manager holds a document of compliance under the ISM Code for operation of Gas Carriers.
 
Vessels that transport gas, including LNG carriers and FSRUs, are also subject to the International Gas Carrier Code (“IGC”) which provides a standard for the safe carriage of LNG and certain other liquid gases by prescribing the design and construction standards of vessels involved in such carriage. Each of our vessels is in compliance with the IGC Code and each of our new buildings/conversion contracts requires that the vessel receive certification that it is in compliance with applicable regulations before it is delivered.
 
The IMO also promulgates ongoing amendments to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (“SOLAS”) which provides rules for the construction of and equipment required for commercial vessels and includes regulations for safe operation and addresses maritime security. SOLAS requires the provision of lifeboats and other life-saving appliances, requires the use of the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (an international radio equipment and watch keeping standard) afloat and at shore stations, and relates to the International Convention on the Standards of Training and Certification of Watchkeeping Officers (“STCW”) also promulgated by the IMO. The STCW establishes minimum training, certification and watch keeping standards for seafarers. The SOLAS and other IMO regulations concerning safety, including those relating to treaties on training of shipboard personnel, lifesaving appliances, radio equipment and the global maritime distress and safety system, are applicable to our operations. Flag states that have ratified the SOLAS and STCW generally employ the classification societies, which have incorporated the SOLAS and STCW requirements into their class rules, to undertake surveys to confirm compliance.
 
 In the wake of increased worldwide security concerns, the IMO amended SOLAS and added the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code (“ISPS Code”), which came into effect on July 1, 2004, to detect security threats and take preventive measures against security incidents affecting vessels or port facilities. GMN has developed security plans and appointed and trained ship and office security officers. In addition, all of our vessels have been certified to meet the ISPS Code and the security requirements of the SOLAS and the Maritime Transportation Security Act (“MTSA”). 
 
The IMO continues to review and introduce new regulations. It is impossible to predict what additional regulations, if any, may be passed by the IMO and what effect, if any, such regulation may have on our operations. Non-compliance with the IGC Code or other applicable IMO regulations may subject a shipowner or a bareboat charterer to increased liability or penalties, may lead to decreases in available insurance coverage for affected vessels and may result in the denial of access to, or detention in, some ports.

Air Emissions
 
The International Convention for the Prevention of Marine Pollution from Ships (“MARPOL”), imposes environmental standards on the shipping industry relating to marine pollution, including oil spills, management of garbage, the handling and disposal of noxious liquids, sewage and air emissions. Annex I to MARPOL applies to various vessels delivered on or after August 1, 2010. It includes requirements for the protected location of the fuel tanks, performance standards for accidental oil fuel outflow, a tank capacity limit and certain other maintenance, inspection and engineering standards. IMO regulations also require owners and operators of vessels to adopt Shipboard Oil Pollution Emergency Plans. Periodic training and drills for response personnel and for vessels and their crews are required.

MARPOL 73/78 Annex VI regulations for the “Prevention of Air Pollution from Ships” apply to all vessels, fixed and floating drilling rigs and other floating platforms. Annex VI sets limits on sulfur oxide and nitrogen oxide emissions from vessel exhausts, emissions of volatile compounds from cargo tanks, incineration of specific substances, and prohibits deliberate emissions of ozone depleting substances. Annex VI also includes a global cap on sulfur content of fuel oil and allows for special areas to be established with more stringent controls on sulfur emissions.  The certification requirements for Annex VI depend on size of the vessel and time of the periodic classification survey. Ships weighing more than 400 gross tons and engaged in international voyages involving countries that have ratified the conventions, or vessels flying the flag of those
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countries, are required to have an International Air Pollution Certificate (“IAPP Certificate”). Annex VI came into force in the United States on January 8, 2009. All our vessels delivered or drydocked since May 19, 2005 have been issued IAPP Certificates.
 
 Amendments to Annex VI to the MARPOL Convention that took effect in 2010 imposed progressively stricter limitations on sulfur emissions from vessels. As of January 1, 2020, the ultimate limit of 0.5% the sulfur content for fuel used to power vessels operating in areas outside of designated emission control areas (“ECAs”) took effect. This represents a substantial reduction from the previous sulfur 3.5% cap. The 0.5% sulfur cap is generally referred to IMO 2020 and applies absent the installation of expensive sulfur scrubbers to meet reduced emission requirements for sulfur. Because the marine sector accounts for approximately half of the global fuel oil demand, the impact of the increased demand for compliant low sulfur fuels is expected to affect the availability and cost of such fuels and, in turn, increase our costs of operation. Our vessels have achieved compliance with sulfur emission standards, where necessary, by being modified to burn gas only in their boilers when alongside a berth. Except for the Golar Mazo, we have modified the boilers on all our vessels to also allow operation on low sulfur diesel oil, or LSDO. The amendments to Annex VI also established new tiers of stringent nitrogen oxide emissions standards for new marine engines, depending on their date of installation. The European directive 2005/33/EC bans the use of fuel oils containing more than 0.10% sulfur by mass by any merchant vessel while at berth in any EU country. See “European Union Regulations” below for additional information.

Even more stringent sulfur emission standards apply in coastal areas designated as ECAs, such as the United States and Canadian coastal areas designated by the IMO's Marine Environment Protection Committee ("MEPC"), as discussed in the “U.S. Clean Air Act” below. These areas include certain coastal areas of North America and the United States Caribbean Sea. Annex VI Regulation 14, which came into effect on January 1, 2015, set a 0.10% sulfur limit in areas of the Baltic Sea, North Sea, North America, and United States Caribbean Sea ECAs.

U.S. air emissions standards are now equivalent to these amended Annex VI requirements. Additional or new conventions, laws and regulations may be adopted that could require the installation of expensive emission control systems. Because our vessels are largely powered by means other than fuel oil we do not anticipate that any emission limits that may be promulgated will require us to incur any material costs for the operation of our vessels, but that possibility cannot be eliminated.
 
Anti-Fouling Requirements
Anti-fouling systems, such as paint or surface treatment, are used to coat the bottom of vessels to prevent the attachment of mollusks and other sea life to the hulls of vessels. Our vessels are subject to the IMO’s International Convention on the Control of Harmful Anti-fouling Systems on Ships, or the Anti-fouling Convention, which prohibits the use of organotin compound coatings in anti-fouling systems. Vessels of over 400 gross tons engaged in international voyages must obtain an International Anti-fouling System Certificate and undergo a survey before the vessel is put into service or when the anti-fouling systems are altered or replaced. We have obtained Anti-fouling System Certificates for all of our vessels, and we do not believe that maintaining such certificates will have an adverse financial impact on the operation of our vessels.

Oil Pollution Act and The Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act
 
The U.S. Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (“OPA 90”) established an extensive regulatory and liability regime for environmental protection and clean up of oil spills. OPA 90 affects all owners and operators whose vessels trade with the United States or its territories or possessions, or whose vessels operate in the waters of the United States, which include the U.S. territorial waters and the 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone of the United States. The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (“CERCLA”) applies to the discharge of hazardous substances whether on land or at sea. While OPA 90 and CERCLA would not apply to the discharge of LNG, these laws may affect us because we carry oil as fuel and lubricants for our engines, and the discharge of these could cause an environmental hazard. Under OPA 90, vessel operators, including vessel owners, managers and bareboat or “demise” charterers, are “responsible parties” who are all liable regardless of fault, individually and as a group, for all containment and clean-up costs and other damages arising from oil spills from their vessels. These “responsible parties” would not be liable if the spill results solely from the act or omission of a third party, an act of God or an act of war. The other damages under OPA 90 aside from clean-up and containment costs are defined broadly to include:
 
injury to, destruction or loss of, or loss of use of, natural resource and the costs of assessment thereof;
injury to, or economic losses resulting from, the destruction of real and personal property;
net loss of taxes, royalties, rents, fees or net profit revenues resulting from injury, destruction or loss of real or personal property, or natural resources;
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loss of subsistence use of natural resources that are injured, destroyed or lost;
lost profits or impairment of earning capacity due to injury, destruction or loss of real or personal property or natural resources; and
net cost of increased or additional public services necessitated by removal activities following a discharge of oil, such as protection from fire, safety or health hazards.
 
The limits of OPA 90 liability are the greater of $2,200 per gross ton or $18.8 million for any tanker other than single-hull tank vessels, over 3,000 gross tons (subject to possible adjustment for inflation) (relevant to ours and Golar’s LNG carriers). These limits of liability do not apply, however, where the incident is caused by violation of applicable U.S. federal safety, construction or operating regulations, or by the responsible party's gross negligence or willful misconduct. These limits likewise do not apply if the responsible party fails or refuses to report the incident or to cooperate and assist in connection with the substance removal activities. OPA 90 specifically permits individual states to impose their own liability regimes with regard to oil pollution incidents occurring within their boundaries, and some states have enacted legislation providing for unlimited liability for discharge of pollutants within their waters. In some cases, states, which have enacted their own legislation, have not yet issued implementing regulations defining ship owners’ responsibilities under these laws.
 
CERCLA, which also applies to owners and operators of vessels, contains a similar liability regime and provides for recovery of clean up and removal costs and the imposition of natural resource damages for releases of “hazardous substances” which as defined in CERCLA does not include oil. Liability under CERCLA is limited to the greater of $300 per gross ton or $0.5 million for each release from vessels not carrying hazardous substances as cargo or residue, and $300 per gross ton or $5 million for each release from vessels carrying hazardous substances as cargo or residue. As with OPA 90, these limits of liability do not apply where the incident is caused by violation of applicable U.S. federal safety, construction or operating regulations, or by the responsible party's gross negligence or willful misconduct or if the responsible party fails or refuses to report the incident or to cooperate and assist in connection with the substance removal activities. OPA 90 and CERCLA each preserve the right to recover damages under existing law, including maritime tort law. We believe that we are in substantial compliance with OPA 90, CERCLA and all applicable state regulations in the ports where our vessels call.
 
OPA 90 requires owners and operators of vessels to establish and maintain with the USCG evidence of financial responsibility sufficient to meet the limit of their potential strict liability under OPA 90/CERCLA. Under the regulations, evidence of financial responsibility may be demonstrated by insurance, surety bond, self-insurance or guaranty. Under OPA 90 regulations, an owner or operator of more than one vessel is required to demonstrate evidence of financial responsibility for the entire fleet in an amount equal only to the financial responsibility requirement of the vessel having the greatest maximum liability under OPA 90/CERCLA. Each of our ship owning subsidiaries that has vessels trading in U.S. waters has applied for, and obtained from the U.S. Coast Guard National Pollution Funds Center three-year certificates of financial responsibility, or COFRs, supported by guarantees which we purchased from an insurance based provider. We believe that we will be able to continue to obtain the requisite guarantees and that we will continue to be granted COFRs from the US Coast Guard for each of our vessels that is required to have one.
 
Compliance with any new requirements of OPA 90, or other laws or regulations, may substantially impact our cost of operations or require us to incur additional expenses to comply with any new regulatory initiatives or statutes. Any additional legislation or regulation applicable to the operation of our vessels that may be implemented in the future could adversely affect our business and ability to make distributions to our unitholders.

We currently maintain pollution liability coverage insurance in the amount of $1.0 billion per incident for each of our vessels. If the damages from a catastrophic spill were to exceed or be excluded under our insurance coverage, it could have an adverse effect on our business and results of operation

 Bunker Convention/CLC State Certificate

The International Convention on Civil Liability for Bunker Oil Pollution 2001, or the Bunker Convention entered into force on November 21, 2008. The Convention provides a liability, compensation and compulsory insurance system for the victims of oil pollution damage caused by spills of bunker oil. The Convention makes the ship owner liable to pay compensation for pollution damage (including the cost of preventive measures) caused in the territory, including the territorial sea of a State Party, as well as its economic zone or equivalent area. Registered owners of any sea going vessel and seaborne craft over 1,000 gross tonnage, of any type whatsoever, and registered in a State Party, or entering or leaving a port in the territory of a State Party, will be required to maintain insurance which meets the requirements of the Convention and to obtain a certificate issued by a State Party attesting that such insurance is in force. The State Party issued certificate must be carried on board at all times. P&I Clubs in the International Group issue the required Bunker Convention “Blue Cards” provide evidence
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that there is insurance in place that meets the Bunker Convention requirements and thereby enable signatory states to issue certificates. All of our vessels have received “Blue Cards” from their P&I Club and are in possession of a Civil Liability Convention (CLC) State-issued certificate attesting that the required insurance cover is in force.

Ballast Water Management Convention, Clean Water Act and National Invasive Species Act
 
The IMO has negotiated international conventions that impose liability for pollution in international waters and the territorial waters of the signatories to such conventions. The Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) and USCG, have also enacted rules relating to ballast water discharge for all vessels entering or operating in United States waters. Compliance requires the installation of equipment on our vessels to treat ballast water before it is discharged or the implementation of other port facility disposal arrangements or procedures at potentially substantial cost, and/or otherwise restrict our vessels from entering United States waters.

a. Ballast Water Management Convention

In February 2004, the IMO adopted an International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships' Ballast Water and Sediments (“BWM Convention”). The BWM Convention's implementing regulations call for a phased introduction of mandatory ballast water exchange requirements to be replaced in time with mandatory concentration limits. The Convention entered into force on September 8, 2017, however IMO later decided to postpone the compliance date for existing vessels by 2 years, i.e. until the first renewal survey following September 8, 2019. Furthermore, in October 2014 the MEPC met and adopted additional resolutions concerning the BWM Convention’s implementation. Upon entry into force of the BWM Convention, mid-ocean ballast water exchange became mandatory for our vessels.

b. Clean Water Act

The U.S. Clean Water Act (“CWA”) prohibits the discharge of oil or hazardous substances in U.S. navigable waters unless authorized by a duly-issued permit or exemption, and imposes strict liability in the form of penalties for any unauthorized discharges. The CWA also imposes substantial liability for the costs of removal, remediation and damages and complements the remedies available under OPA 90 and CERCLA. In addition, many U.S. states that border a navigable waterway have enacted environmental pollution laws that impose strict liability on a person for removal costs and damages resulting from a discharge of oil or a release of a hazardous substance. These laws may be more stringent than U.S. federal law.

The EPA regulates the discharge of ballast and bilge water and other substances in United States waters under the CWA. The EPA regulations historically have required vessels 79 feet in length or longer (other than commercial fishing vessels and recreational vessels) to obtain and comply with a permit that regulates ballast water discharges and other discharges incidental to the normal operation of certain vessels within United States waters. In March 2013, the EPA issued the Vessel General Permit for Discharges Incidental to the Normal Operation of Vessels, (“VGP”). The 2013 VGP focuses on authorizing discharges incidental to operations of commercial vessels and contains ballast water discharge limits for most vessels to reduce the risk of invasive species in US waters, more stringent requirements for exhaust gas scrubbers and the use of environmentally acceptable lubricants. In December 2018, the Vessel Incidental Discharge Act (VIDA) was signed into law and restructured the EPA and the USCG programs for regulating incidental discharges from vessels. Rather than requiring CWA permits, the discharges will be regulated under a new CWA Section 312(p) establishing Uniform National Standards for Discharges Incidental to Normal Operation of Vessels. Under VIDA, VGP provisions and existing USCG regulations will be phased out over a period of approximately four years and replaced with National Standards of Performance (NSPs) to be developed by EPA and implemented and enforced by the USCG. Under VIDA, the EPA is directed to develop the NSPs by December 2020 and the USCG is directed to develop its corresponding regulations two year after EPA develops the NSPs. Although the 2013 VGP was scheduled to expire in December 2018, under VIDA the provisions of the 2013 VGP will remain in place until the new regulations are in place. Pursuant to the requirements in the VGP, vessel owners and operators must meet twenty-five sets of state-specific requirements as the CWA’s 401 certification process allows tribes and states to impose their own requirements for vessels operating within their waters. Vessels operating in multiple jurisdictions could face potentially conflicting conditions specific to each jurisdiction that they travel through.

c. National Invasive Species Act

The USCG regulations adopted under the U.S. National Invasive Species Act (“NISA”) require the USCG's approval of any technology before it is placed on a vessel. As a result, the USCG has provided waivers to vessels which could not install the then as-yet unapproved technology. In May 2016, the USCG published a review of the practicability of implementing a more stringent ballast water discharge standard. The results concluded that technology to achieve a significant improvement in ballast water treatment efficacy cannot be practically implemented. In February, 2016, the USCG issued a new rule amending
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the Coast Guard’s ballast water management record-keeping requirements. Effective February 22, 2016, vessels with ballast tanks operating exclusively on voyages between ports or places within a single Captain of the Port zone must submit an annual report of their ballast water management practices. Further, under the amended requirements, vessels may submit their reports after arrival at the port of destination instead of prior to arrival. As discussed above, under VIDA, existing USCG ballast water management regulations will be phased out over a period of approximately four years and replaced with NSPs to be developed by EPA and implemented and enforced by the USCG.

Installation of ballast water treatments systems (“BWTS”), will be needed on all our LNG Carriers. As long as our FSRUs are operating as FSRUs and kept stationary they will not need installation of a BWTS. The additional costs of complying with these rules, relating to all our vessels are estimated to be in the range of $1.8 million and $2.1 million per vessel and will be phased in over time in connection with the renewal surveys that are required. We have therefore decided to install BWTS on all our LNG Carriers on their first drydocking after 2017. The installation of the BWTS on the Methane Princess was completed in 2018.

European Union Regulations

In October 2009, the European Union amended a directive to impose criminal sanctions for illicit ship-source discharges of polluting substances, including minor discharges, if committed with intent, recklessly or with serious negligence and the discharges individually or in the aggregate result in deterioration of the quality of water. Aiding and abetting the discharge of a polluting substance may also lead to criminal penalties. The directive applies to all types of vessels, irrespective of their flag, but certain exceptions apply to warships or where human safety or that of the ship is in danger. Criminal liability for pollution may result in substantial penalties or fines and increased civil liability claims. See “Regulation of Greenhouse Gas Emissions” below for European Union action relating to carbon dioxide emissions from maritime transport.

The European Union has adopted several regulations and directives requiring, among other things, more frequent inspections of high-risk ships, as determined by type, age and flag as well as the number of times the ship has been detained. The European Union also adopted and extended a ban on substandard ships and enacted a minimum ban period and a definitive ban for repeated offenses. The regulation also provided the European Union with greater authority and control over classification societies, by imposing more requirements on classification societies and providing for fines or penalty payments for organizations that failed to comply. Furthermore, the EU has implemented regulations requiring vessels to use reduced sulfur content fuel for their main and auxiliary engines. The EU Directive 2005/33/EC (amending Directive 1999/32/EC) introduced requirements parallel to those in Annex VI relating to the sulfur content of marine fuels. In addition, the EU imposed a 0.1% maximum sulfur requirement for fuel used by ships at berth in the Baltic, the North Sea and the English Channel (the so called “SOx-Emission Control Area”). As of January 2020, EU member states must also ensure that ships in all EU waters, except the SOx-Emission Control Area, use fuels with a 0.5% maximum sulfur content.

Clean Air Act
 
The U.S. Clean Air Act of 1970 (“CAA”) requires the EPA to promulgate standards applicable to emissions of volatile organic compounds and other air contaminants. Our vessels are subject to vapor control and recovery requirements for certain cargos when loading, unloading, ballasting, cleaning and conducting other operations in regulated port areas and emission standards for so-called “Category 3” marine diesel engines operating in U.S. waters. The marine diesel engine emission standards are currently limited to new engines beginning with the 2004 model year. On April 30, 2010, the EPA promulgated final emission standards for Category 3 marine diesel engines equivalent to those adopted in the amendments to Annex VI to MARPOL. The emission standards apply in two stages: near-term standards for newly-built engines apply from 2011, and long-term standards requiring an 80% reduction in nitrogen dioxides, or NOx, apply from 2016. Compliance with these standards may cause us to incur costs to install control equipment on our vessels in the future.
 
International Labour Organization

The International Labour Organization (the “ILO”) is a specialized agency of the UN that has adopted the Maritime Labor Convention 2006 (“MLC 2006”). A Maritime Labor Certificate and a Declaration of Maritime Labor Compliance is required to ensure compliance with the MLC 2006 for all ships that are 500 gross tonnage or over and are either engaged in international voyages or flying the flag of a Member and operating from a port, or between ports, in another country. We believe that all our vessels are in substantial compliance with and are certified to meet MLC 2006.

Regulation of Greenhouse Gas Emissions
 
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Scientific studies have suggested that emissions of certain gases, commonly referred to as “greenhouse gases” (“GHGs”), including carbon dioxide and methane, may be contributing to warming of the earth’s atmosphere and other climatic changes. In response to such studies, the issue of climate change and the effect of GHG emissions, in particular emissions from fossil fuels, has and continues to attract political and social attention and is the subject of regulatory attention.

To date, emissions of greenhouse gases from international transport have not been subject to the international protocols and agreements addressing climate change, such as the 2005 Kyoto Protocol and the 2015 Paris Agreement. However, absent a global approach to address GHG emissions from international transport, the European Union has initiated action and is pursuing a strategy to integrate maritime emissions into the overall European Union strategy to reduce GHG emissions. In 2013, European Commission initiated a three step strategy aimed at this reduction consisting of (i) monitoring, reporting and verification of carbon dioxide emissions from large vessels using European Union ports, (ii) establishment of GHG reduction targets for sector; and (iii) implementation of further measures, including market-based measures such an emissions trading, in the medium to long term. The first step was addressed with a European Union regulation that took effect in January 2018 that requires large vessels (over 5,000 gross tons) calling at European ports to collect and publish data on carbon dioxide emissions. EU Directive 2018/410, which amended the EU Emissions Trading System Directive, emphasized the need to act on GHG emissions from shipping and other sectors and calls for action by either IMO or the European Union to address emissions from the international transport sector from 2023.

In addition, the IMO has taken some action, including mandatory measures to reduce emissions of GHGs from all vessels that took effect in January 2013. These measures included amendments to MARPOL Annex VI Regulations requiring the Energy Efficiency Design Index (“EEDI”) for new vessels, and the Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan (“SEEMP”) for all vessels. The regulations apply to all vessels of 400 gross tonnage and above. The IMO also adopted a mandatory requirement in October 2016, which entered into force in March 2018, that ships of 5,000 gross tonnage and above record and report their fuel oil consumption. These measures affect the operations of vessels that are registered in countries that are signatories to MARPOL Annex VI or vessels that call upon ports located within such countries. In May 2019, the MEPC approved for adoption at its April 2020 session further amendments to MARPOL Annex VI intended to significantly strengthen the EEDI “phase 3” requirements. These amendments would accelerate the entry into effect by date of phase 3 from 2025 to 2022 for several ship types, including gas carriers, general cargo ships and LNG carriers and require new ships built from that date to be significantly more energy efficient. The MEPC is also looking into the possible introduction of a phase 4 of EEDI requirements. The implementation of the EEDI and SEEMP standards could cause us to incur additional compliance costs. The IMO is also considering the implementation of a market-based mechanism for greenhouse gas emissions from vessels. At the October 2016 MEPC session, the IMO adopted a roadmap for developing a comprehensive IMO strategy on reduction of GHG emissions. The IMO adopted its initial GHG reduction strategy in 2018 and established a program of follow-up actions up to 2023 as a planning tool.

In the United States, the EPA has issued a final finding that greenhouse gases threaten public health and safety and has promulgated regulations that regulate the emission of greenhouse gases from certain sources. The EPA enforces both the CAA and the international standards found in Annex VI of MARPOL concerning marine diesel emissions, and the sulfur content found in marine fuel. Other federal and state regulations relating to the control of greenhouse gas emissions may follow, including climate change initiatives that have been considered in the U.S. Congress. Any passage of climate control legislation or other regulatory initiatives by the IMO, the European Union, the United States, or other countries where we operate, or any treaty adopted at the international level to succeed the Kyoto Protocol, that restrict emissions of greenhouse gases from vessels could require us to make significant financial expenditures that we cannot predict with certainty at this time. In addition, even without such regulation, our business may be indirectly affected to the extent that climate change results in sea level changes or more intense weather events.

Other Regulations

Our LNG vessels may also become subject to the International Convention on Liability and Compensation for Damage Connection with the Carriage of Hazardous and Noxious Substances by Sea, or HNS, adopted in 1996, the HNS Convention, and subsequently amended by the April 2010 Protocol. The HNS Convention introduces strict liability for the ship owner and covers pollution damage as well as the risks of fire and explosion, including loss of life or personal injury and damage to property. HNS includes, among other things, liquefied natural gas. At least 12 states must ratify or accede to the 2010 Protocol for it to enter into effect. In July 2019, South Africa became the fifth state to ratify the protocol. At least 7 more states must ratify or accede to the treaty for it to enter into effect.

The 2010 Protocol sets up a two-tier system of compensation composed of compulsory insurance taken out by ship owners and an HNS fund that comes into play when the insurance is insufficient to satisfy a claim or does not cover the incident. Under the 2010 Protocol, if damage is caused by bulk HNS, claims for compensation will first be sought from the ship
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owner up to a maximum of 100 million Special Drawing Rights, or SDR. SDR is a potential claim on the freely usable currencies of the IMF members. If the damage is caused by packaged HNS or by both bulk and packaged HNS, the maximum liability is 115 million SDR. Once the limit is reached, compensation will be paid from the HNS Fund up to a maximum of 250 million SDR. We cannot estimate the costs that may be needed to comply with any such requirements that may be adopted with any certainty at this time.


 Taxation of the Partnership
 
United States Taxation
 
The following is a discussion of the material U.S. federal income tax considerations applicable to us. This discussion is based upon provisions of the Code as in effect on the date of this Annual Report, existing final and temporary regulations thereunder (or Treasury Regulations), and current administrative rulings and court decisions, all of which are subject to change or differing interpretation, possibly with retroactive effect. Changes in these authorities may cause the tax consequences to vary substantially from the consequences described below. The following discussion is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be a comprehensive description of all of the U.S. federal income tax considerations applicable to us.
 
Election to be Treated as a Corporation. We have elected to be treated as a corporation for U.S. federal income tax purposes. As such, we are subject to U.S. federal income tax on our income to the extent it is from U.S. sources or is treated as effectively connected with the conduct of a trade or business in the United States unless such income is exempt from tax under Section 883 of the Code.
 
Taxation of Operating Income. Substantially all of our gross income has historically been attributable to the transportation, regasification and storage of LNG, and we expect that substantially all of our gross income will continue to be attributable to the transportation, regasification and storage of, as well as liquefaction of, LNG. Gross income generated from liquefaction, regasification and storage of LNG outside of the United States generally is not subject to U.S. federal income tax, and gross income generated from such activities in the United States generally is subject to U.S. federal income tax. Gross income that is attributable to transportation that either begins or ends, but that does not both begin and end, in the United States (or U.S. Source International Transportation Income) is considered to be 50.0% derived from sources within the United States and may be subject to U.S. federal income tax as described below. Gross income attributable to transportation that both begins and ends in the United States (or U.S. Source Domestic Transportation Income) is considered to be 100.0% derived from sources within the United States and generally is subject to U.S. federal income tax. 
 
Certain of our activities give rise to U.S. Source International Transportation Income, and future expansion of our operations could result in an increase in the amount of U.S. Source International Transportation Income, all of which could be subject to U.S. federal income taxation unless the exemption from U.S. taxation under Section 883 of the Code (or the Section 883 Exemption) applies.
 
The Section 883 Exemption. In general, the Section 883 Exemption provides that if a non-U.S. corporation satisfies the requirements of Section 883 of the Code and the Treasury Regulations thereunder (or the Section 883 Regulations), it will not be subject to the net basis and branch profits taxes or the 4.0% gross basis tax described below on its U.S. Source International Transportation Income. The Section 883 Exemption applies only to U.S. Source International Transportation Income and does not apply to U.S. Source Domestic Transportation Income. As discussed below, we believe that based on our current ownership structure, the Section 883 Exemption applies and we are not subject to U.S. federal income tax on our U.S. Source International Transportation Income.
 
To qualify for the Section 883 Exemption, we must, among other things, meet the following three requirements:
 
be organized in a jurisdiction outside the United States that grants an equivalent exemption from tax to corporations organized in the United States with respect to the types of U.S. Source International Transportation Income that we earn (or an Equivalent Exemption);
satisfy the Publicly Traded Test (as described below) or the Qualified Shareholder Stock Ownership Test (as described below); and
meet certain substantiation, reporting and other requirements.
 
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In order for a non-U.S. corporation to meet the Publicly Traded Test, its equity interests must be “primarily traded” and “regularly traded” on an established securities market either in the United States or in a jurisdiction outside the United States that grants an Equivalent Exemption. The Section 883 Regulations provide, in pertinent part, that equity interests in a non-U.S. corporation will be considered to be “primarily traded” on an established securities market in a given country if, with respect to the class or classes of equity relied upon to meet the “regularly traded” requirement described below, the number of units of each such class that are traded during any taxable year on all established securities markets in that country exceeds the number of units in such class that are traded during that year on established securities markets in any other single country. Equity interests in a non-U.S. corporation will be considered to be “regularly traded” on an established securities market under the Section 883 Regulations if one or more classes of such equity interests that, in the aggregate, represent more than 50.0% of the combined vote and value of all outstanding equity interests in the non-U.S. corporation satisfy certain listing and trading volume requirements.  These listing and trading volume requirements will be satisfied with respect to a class of equity interests if trades in such class are effected, other than in de minimis quantities, on an established securities market on at least 60 days during the taxable year and the aggregate number of units in such class that are traded on an established securities market during the taxable year is at least 10.0% of the average number of units outstanding in that class during the taxable year (with special rules for short taxable years).  In addition, a class of equity interests will be considered to satisfy these trading volume requirements if the equity interests in such class are traded during the taxable year on an established securities market in the United States and are “regularly quoted by dealers making a market” in such class (within the meaning of the Section 883 Regulations).
 
Even if a class of equity satisfies the foregoing requirements, and thus generally would be treated as “regularly traded” on an established securities market, an exception may apply to cause the class to fail the regularly traded test if, for more than half of the number of days during the taxable year, one or more 5.0% unitholders (i.e. unitholders owning, actually or constructively, at least 5.0% of the vote and value of that class) own in the aggregate 50.0% or more of the vote and value of the class (or the Closely Held Block Exception). The Closely Held Block Exception does not apply, however, in the event the corporation can establish that a sufficient proportion of such 5.0% unitholders are Qualified Shareholders (as defined below) so as to preclude other persons who are 5.0% unitholders from owning 50.0% or more of the value of that class for more than half the days during the taxable year.
 
As set forth above, as an alternative to satisfying the Publicly Traded Test, a non-U.S. corporation may qualify for the Section 883 Exemption by satisfying the Qualified Shareholder Stock Ownership Test. A corporation generally will satisfy the Qualified Shareholder Stock Ownership Test if more than 50.0% of the value of its outstanding equity interests is owned, or treated as owned after applying certain attribution rules, for at least half of the number of days in the taxable year by:
 
individual residents of jurisdictions that grant an Equivalent Exemption;
non-U.S. corporations organized in jurisdictions that grant an Equivalent Exemption and that meet the Publicly Traded Test; or
certain other qualified persons described in the Section 883 Regulations (which we refer to collectively as Qualified Shareholders).
 
We believe that we satisfy all of the requirements for the Section 883 Exemption, and we expect that we will continue to satisfy such requirements. We are organized under the laws of the Republic of the Marshall Islands. The U.S. Treasury Department has recognized the Republic of the Marshall Islands as a jurisdiction that grants an Equivalent Exemption with respect to the type of U.S. Source International Transportation Income we earn and expect to earn in the future. Consequently, our U.S. Source International Transportation Income (including for this purpose, our proportionate share of any such income earned by our subsidiaries) should be exempt from U.S. federal income taxation provided we meet the Publicly Traded Test and we satisfy certain substantiation, reporting and other requirements.
 
Our common units and our Series A Preferred Units are traded only on the Nasdaq Global Market, which is considered to be an established securities market. Thus the number of our common units and Series A Preferred Units that are traded on the Nasdaq Global Market exceeds the number of our common units and Series A Preferred Units that are traded on any other established securities market, and this is not expected to change. Therefore, we believe that our equity interests are “primarily traded” on an established securities market for purposes of the Publicly Traded Test.

Although the matter is not free from doubt, based on our analysis of our current and expected cash flow and distributions on our outstanding equity interests, we believe that (i) our common units and Series A Preferred Units represent more than 50.0% of the total value of all of our outstanding equity interests and (ii) our common units and our Series A Preferred Units represent more than 50.0% of the total combined voting power of our equity interests. In addition, we believe that our common units and our Series A Preferred Units each currently satisfy, and expect that our common units and our Series
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A Preferred Units each will continue to satisfy, the listing and trading volume requirements described previously. Therefore, we believe that our equity interests are “primarily traded” on an established securities market for purposes of the Publicly Traded Test.

Further, our partnership agreement provides that any person or group that beneficially owns more than 4.9% of any class of our units then outstanding generally will be treated as owning only 4.9% of such units for purposes of voting for directors. Although there can be no assurance that this limitation will be effective to eliminate the possibility that we have or will have any 5.0% unitholders for purposes of the Closely Held Block Exception, based on the current ownership of our common units, we believe that our common units have not lost eligibility for the Section 883 Exemption as a result of the Closely Held Block Exception. Thus, although the matter is not free from doubt and is based upon our belief and expectations regarding our satisfaction of the factual requirements described above, we believe that we satisfied the Publicly Traded Test for 2019 and will continue to satisfy the Publicly Traded Test for future taxable years.
 
The conclusions described above are based upon legal authorities that do not expressly contemplate an organizational structure such as ours. In particular, although we have elected to be treated as a corporation for U.S. federal income tax purposes, we are organized as a limited partnership under Marshall Islands law. Accordingly, while we believe that, assuming satisfaction of the factual requirements described above, our common units and Series A Preferred Units should be considered “regularly traded” on an established securities market and that we should satisfy the requirements for the Section 883 Exemption, it is possible that the IRS would assert that our common units and Series A Preferred Units do not meet the “regularly traded” test. In addition, as described previously, our ability to satisfy the Publicly Traded Test depends upon factual matters that are subject to change. Should any of the factual requirements described above fail to be satisfied, we may not be able to satisfy the Publicly Traded Test. Furthermore, our board of directors could determine that it is in our best interests to take an action that would result in our not being able to satisfy the Publicly Traded Test in the future. Please see “—The Net Basis and Branch Profits Tax” and “—The 4.0% Gross Basis Tax” below for a discussion of the consequences in the event we do not satisfy the Publicly Traded Test.
 
The Net Basis Tax and Branch Profits Tax. If we earn U.S. Source International Transportation Income and the Section 883 Exemption does not apply, the U.S. source portion of such income may be treated as effectively connected with the conduct of a trade or business in the United States (or Effectively Connected Income) if we have a fixed place of business in the United States involved in the earning of U.S. Source International Transportation Income and substantially all of our U.S. Source International Transportation Income is attributable to regularly scheduled transportation or, in the case of vessel leasing income, is attributable to a fixed place of business in the United States. In addition, if we earn income from liquefaction, regasification or storage of LNG within the territorial seas of the United States, such income may be treated as Effectively Connected Income. Based on our current operations, substantially all of our potential U.S. Source International Transportation Income is not attributable to regularly scheduled transportation or received from vessel leasing, and none of our liquefaction, regasification or storage activities occur within the territorial seas of the United States. As a result, we do not anticipate that any of our U.S. Source International Transportation Income or income earned from liquefaction, regasification or storage will be treated as Effectively Connected Income. However, there is no assurance that we will not earn income pursuant to regularly scheduled transportation or bareboat charters attributable to a fixed place of business in the United States, or earn income from liquefaction, regasification or storage activities within the territorial seas of the United States, in the future, which would result in such income being treated as Effectively Connected Income.
 
Any income we earn that is treated as Effectively Connected Income, net of applicable deductions, would be subject to U.S. federal corporate income tax (currently imposed at a rate of up to 21.0%). In addition, a 30.0% branch profits tax could be imposed on any income we earn that is treated as Effectively Connected Income, as determined after allowance for certain adjustments, and on certain interest paid or deemed paid by us in connection with the conduct of our U.S. trade or business.
 
On the sale of a vessel that has produced Effectively Connected Income, we could be subject to the net basis U.S. federal corporate income tax as well as branch profits tax with respect to the gain recognized up to the amount of certain prior deductions for depreciation that reduced Effectively Connected Income. Otherwise, we would not be subject to U.S. federal income tax with respect to gains realized on the sale of a vessel, provided the sale is considered to occur outside of the United States under U.S. federal income tax principles. In general, a sale of a vessel will be considered to occur outside of the United States for this purpose if title to the vessel, and risk of loss with respect to the vessel, pass to the buyer outside the United States. It is expected that any sale of a vessel by us will be considered to occur outside of the United States.
 
The 4.0% Gross Basis Tax. If the Section 883 Exemption does not apply and the net basis tax does not apply, we would be subject to a 4.0% U.S. federal income tax on the U.S. source portion of our gross U.S. Source International Transportation Income, without benefit of deductions. Under the sourcing rules described above under “—Taxation of
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Operating Income,” 50.0% of our U.S. Source International Transportation Income would be treated as being derived from U.S. sources.
 
Marshall Islands Taxation
 
We believe that because we, our operating subsidiaries and our controlled affiliates do not, and do not expect to conduct business or operations in the Republic of the Marshall Islands, neither we nor our controlled affiliates will be subject to income, capital gains, profits or other taxation under current Marshall Islands law. As a result, distributions by our operating subsidiary and our controlled affiliates to us will not be subject to Marshall Islands taxation.
 
United Kingdom Taxation
 
The following is a discussion of the material United Kingdom tax consequences applicable to us relevant to the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020. This discussion is based upon existing legislation and current H.M. Revenue & Customs practice as of the date of this Annual Report. Changes in these authorities may cause the tax consequences to vary substantially from the consequences described below. The following discussion is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be a comprehensive description of all of the United Kingdom tax considerations applicable to us.
 
Tax Residence and Taxation of a Permanent Establishment in the United Kingdom. A company treated as resident in the United Kingdom for purposes of the United Kingdom Corporation Tax Acts is subject to corporation tax in the same manner and to the same extent as a United Kingdom incorporated company. For this purpose, place of residence is determined by the place at which central management and control of the company is carried out.
 
In addition, a non-United Kingdom resident company will be subject to United Kingdom corporation tax on profits attributable to a permanent establishment in the United Kingdom to the extent it carries on a trade in the United Kingdom through such a permanent establishment. A company not resident in the United Kingdom will be treated as having a permanent establishment in the United Kingdom if it has a fixed place of business in the United Kingdom through which the business of the company is wholly or partly carried on or if an agent acting on behalf of the company has and habitually exercises authority to enter into contracts on behalf of the company.
 
Unlike a company, a partnership resident in the United Kingdom or carrying on a trade in the United Kingdom is not itself subject to tax, although its partners generally will be liable for United Kingdom tax based upon their shares of the partnership’s income and gains.  Please read “Item 10—Additional Information—E. Taxation”.
 
Taxation of Non-United Kingdom Incorporated Subsidiaries. We will undertake measures designed to ensure that our non-United Kingdom incorporated subsidiaries will be considered controlled and managed outside of the United Kingdom and not as having a permanent establishment or otherwise carrying on a trade in the United Kingdom. While certain of our subsidiaries that are incorporated outside of the United Kingdom will enter into agreements with Golar Management, a United Kingdom incorporated company, for the provision of administrative and/or technical management services, we believe that the terms of these agreements will not result in any of our non-United Kingdom incorporated subsidiaries being treated as having a permanent establishment or carrying on a trade in the United Kingdom. As a consequence, we expect that our non-United Kingdom incorporated subsidiaries will not be treated as resident in the United Kingdom and the profits these subsidiaries earn will not be subject to tax in the United Kingdom.
 
Taxation of United Kingdom Incorporated Subsidiaries. Each of our subsidiaries that is incorporated in the United Kingdom will be regarded for the purposes of the United Kingdom Corporation Tax Acts as being resident in the United Kingdom and will be liable to United Kingdom corporation tax on its worldwide income and chargeable gains, regardless of whether the income or gains are remitted to the United Kingdom. The generally applicable rate of United Kingdom corporation tax is currently 19% . Our United Kingdom incorporated subsidiaries will be liable to tax at this rate on their net income, profits and gains after deducting expenses incurred wholly and exclusively for the purposes of the business being undertaken. There is currently no United Kingdom withholding tax levied on distributions made to us.
 
Indonesia Taxation

The following discussion is based upon our knowledge and understanding of the tax laws of Indonesia and regulations, rulings and judicial decisions thereunder, all as in effect of the date of this Annual Report and subject to possible change on a retroactive basis. The following discussion is for general information purposes and does not purport to be a comprehensive description of all the Indonesian income tax considerations applicable to us.
 
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PTGI, which owns and operates the NR Satu, has entered into a time charter party agreement with PTNR. On commencement of the charter by PTNR in Indonesia, which occurred in May 2012 upon delivery of the NR Satu, we became subject to tax in Indonesia payable by PTGI. This includes (and is not limited to) corporate income tax on profits at a rate of 25%, withholding taxes required to be withheld by PTGI from payments it makes to our other subsidiaries including dividends to PTGI’s immediate parent or interest payments on group loans as well as third party debt financing.

However, the tax exposure in Indonesia is intended to be mitigated by revenue due under the charter. This tax element of the time charter rate was established at the beginning of the time charter and shall be adjusted only if there is a change in Indonesian tax laws or certain stipulated tax assumptions are invalid. PTNR withholds tax from payments it makes under the charter for the NR Satu. See “Item 8—Financial Information—A. Consolidated Statements and Other Financial Information—Legal Proceedings” for details on our legal proceedings in Indonesia.

Other Taxation

We are liable to corporate income taxes in the jurisdictions in which we have subsidiaries or a taxable presence. We are therefore liable to tax currently in the United Kingdom, Brazil, Indonesia, Jordan, Jamaica, Kuwait and Barbados according to the tax regulations of those countries. We are also subject to tax inspections and tax audits in the jurisdictions we operate in.

The various local tax authorities may also periodically revise their tax laws and regulations or adopt new laws and regulations, and the effects of new or revised tax regulations on our operations cannot be predicted. There can be no assurances that additional significant costs and liabilities will not be incurred to comply with such current and future tax regulation changes or that such tax regulations will not have a material effect on our operations.

C.           Organizational Structure
 
Golar GP LLC, a Marshall Islands limited liability company, is our general partner. Our general partner is a subsidiary of Golar, which is a Bermuda exempted company. Please see Exhibit 8.1 to this Form 20-F for a list of our significant subsidiaries.
 
D.           Property, Plant and Equipment
 
Other than the vessels in our current fleet, we also own a purpose-built mooring structure with a net book value of $10.7 million and $14.2 million as of December 31, 2019 and 2018, respectively. The mooring structure is located off West Java, Indonesia where the NR Satu is permanently moored for the duration of its time charter with PTNR. Together with the NR Satu, the mooring structure is under a time charter with PTNR which terminates at the end of 2022. The mooring structure, together with the NR Satu, is also secured in favor of the $175.0 million NR Satu facility.


Item 4A.                         Unresolved Staff Comments
 
There are no written comments which have been provided by the staff of the Securities and Exchange Commission regarding our periodic reports which remain unresolved as of the date of the filing of this Form 20-F with the Commission.

 

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Item 5.                                  Operating and Financial Review and Prospects
 
The following discussion of our financial condition and results of operations should be read in conjunction with our historical financial statements and related notes included elsewhere in this Annual Report. Among other things, those financial statements include more detailed information regarding the basis of presentation for the following information. Our Consolidated Financial Statements have been prepared in accordance with U.S. GAAP and are presented in U.S. Dollars.
  
Background and Overview
 
We were formed in 2007 by Golar to own and operate FSRUs and LNG carriers under long-term charters that generate long-term stable cash flows. Our fleet currently consists of six FSRUs, four LNG carriers and an interest in the FLNG Hilli, through our ownership of 50% of the Hilli Common Units. We expect to make additional accretive acquisitions of FSRUs, LNG carriers and FLNGs from Golar and third parties in the future as market conditions permit.

We completed our IPO on April 13, 2011 and our common units are traded on the NASDAQ Global Market under the symbol “GMLP”.

Significant Developments in 2019 and Early 2020

Golar Freeze Charter

On April 1, 2019, the Golar Freeze tendered notice of readiness for the FSRU testing for her 15-year time charter offshore Jamaica ("Golar Freeze Charter") and started earning her contracted full daily hire rate. On May 15, 2019, we executed a modification to the Golar Freeze Charter which triggered a change in accounting for the charter from an operating lease to a sales-type lease ("Golar Freeze Finance Lease"). As a result, the underlying vessel carrying value of the Golar Freeze was de-recognized from "vessels and equipment, net", and we have subsequently recognized an "investment in leased vessel, net" in our consolidated balance sheets with a corresponding $4.2 million gain included within "Other non-operating income" of our consolidated statement of operations.

Charter Awards

In October 2019, the Partnership received notice from Kuwait National Petroleum Co. ("KNPC") of a two-year contract award for the FSRU Golar Igloo. The charter award was subsequently executed in February 2020, which provides that the Partnership will provide two years of LNG storage and regasification services at the Mina Al-Ahmadi Refinery in Kuwait for KNPC’s regasification seasons beginning in February 2020. The contract may be further extended by KNPC through to December 2022.

In October 2019, we entered into a two-year charter for the Golar Maria which will commence late 2020. The charter includes options for the charterer to extend the contract for up to 3 years. Between April 2020 and the start of her charter, the vessel will trade in the spot market.

In February 2020, the Golar Grand charter, originally expiring in May 2020, was extended for one year at a rate similar to the current level with an option to extend for terms up to six years.
Global COVID-19 Outbreak

We have mentioned specific impacts to our operating activities due to COVID-19 (see “—Factors Affecting Our Results of Operations and Future Results”), however, the extent to which COVID-19 will impact our results of operation and financial condition will depend on future developments, which are highly uncertain and cannot be predicted, including among others, new information which may emerge concerning the severity of COVID-19 and the actions to contain or treat its impact. An estimate of the impact cannot therefore be made at this time.

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Cash Distributions

In February 2020, we paid a cash distribution of $0.4042 per common unit in respect of the three months ended December 31, 2019 to unitholders of record as of February 7, 2020. We also paid a cash distribution of $0.546875 per Series A Preferred Unit for the period from November 15, 2019 through to February 14, 2020 to our Series A Preferred unitholders of record as of February 7, 2020.

In April 2020, the Partnership announced an update regarding its financial strategy and ongoing initiatives in response to the recent COVID-19 induced deterioration in the macro-economic environment, including approval of a 95% reduction in the quarterly distribution on our common units to $0.0202 per unit for the quarter ended March 31, 2020 (from $0.4042 per unit in the previous quarter) inconnection with our 2015 and 2017 Norwegian Bond refinancing described below. The Partnership believes this reduction is in the best interest of its unitholders during this time of market volatility. With the resulting cash retention, we will focus our capital allocation on debt reduction, thus strengthening our balance sheet.

2015 and 2017 Norwegian Bond Refinancing

On April 1, 2020, we announced the initiation of a process to seek bondholder approval for an extension of the maturity date by 18 months, subject to certain terms and conditions, for our 2015 Norwegian Bonds and our 2017 Norwegian Bonds. We intend to use the 18 month extension period to arrange a long-term refinancing of the 2015 Norwegian Bonds and the 2017 Norwegian Bonds, which has not been possible in light of the current turmoil in the Nordic and international capital markets due in part to the adverse conditions caused by COVID-19.

We have scheduled a bondholder meeting on May 5, 2020 to approve the proposed amendments to the 2015 Norwegian Bonds and the 2017 Norwegian Bonds (the "Norwegian Bond Amendments"). In turn for the 18 month extension we will pay an amendment fee of 0.5% of the par value of all of the 2015 Norwegian Bonds and 2017 Norwegian Bonds.The proposed amendments include the following:

2015 Norwegian Bonds: The interest rate on the 2015 Norwegian Bonds will increase by 185 basis points, from LIBOR plus 4.4% per annum to LIBOR plus 6.25% per annum. In addition, the repayment profile of the 2015 Norwegian Bonds will change from a bullet repayment on the original maturity date to amortization as follows:
Equal instalments of $5 million (at 100% of par value), the first time on September 30, 2020 and thereafter on each interest payment date in the period up to and including the interest payment date in May 2021;
Equal instalments of $3.75 million (at 100% of the par value) from, but excluding the interest payment date in May 2021 and on each interest payment date thereafter; and
Repayment of the remaining amount at a price of 105% of the par value on the amended maturity date of November 22, 2021.

2017 Norwegian Bonds: The interest rate on the 2017 Norwegian Bonds will increase by 185 basis points, from LIBOR plus 6.25% per annum to LIBOR plus 8.1% per annum. In addition, the repayment profile of the 2017 Norwegian Bonds will change from a bullet repayment upon the original maturity date to amortization as follows:
Equal instalments of $5 million (at 100% of par value), the first time on September 30, 2020 and thereafter on each interest payment date in the period up to and including the interest payment date in May 2021;
Equal instalments of $6.25 million (at 100% of the par value) from, but excluding the interest payment date in November 2021 and on each interest payment date thereafter;
Equal instalments of $10 million (at 100% of the par value) from and including the interest payment date in February 2022 after the 2015 Norwegian Bonds have been redeemed in full; and
Repayment of the remaining amount at a price of 105% of the par value on the amended maturity date of November 22, 2022.

Under the Norwegian Bond Amendments, we may incur no additional financial indebtedness without applying the proceeds received therefrom to redeem the 2015 Norwegian Bonds and the 2017 Norwegian Bonds on a pro rata basis, other than certain permitted financial indebtedness incurred: (i) to repay existing financial indebtedness, (ii) by way of secured debt from financial institutions incurred in the ordinary course of business in connection with acquisitions of assets or (iii) an amount up to $25 million in aggregate, provided that the proceeds in the case of each of (i) to (iii) above are not applied for redemption of any or all of the 2017 Norwegian Bonds prior to the redemption of the 2015 Norwegian Bonds in full. In addition, the Norwegian Bond Amendments will contain a provision prohibiting us from paying distributions to our common
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unit holders in an amount greater than (i) $0.0808 per common unit per annum or (ii) the aggregate amount of cash equity raised. Additionally, under the Norwegian Bond Amendments, we will not be permitted to repurchase any of our common or preferred units

As of April 30, 2020, we had received support from bondholders for the required two-thirds majority to approve the proposed amendments at the meeting on May 5, 2020 for each of the 2015 Norwegian and the 2017 Norwegian Bonds.


Financing

In February 2019, we borrowed the remaining $25.0 million available under the revolving credit facility under our $800 million credit facility. As of December 31, 2019, the revolving credit facility was fully drawn.

In November 2019, we borrowed $15.0 million from Golar, with interest at a rate of LIBOR plus 5.0%. We repaid the loan in full, including interest of $0.1 million, on December 30, 2019.

In February 2020, we borrowed $25.0 million from Golar, with interest at a rate of LIBOR plus 5.0%. We repaid the loan in full, including interest.

Common Unit Repurchase Program

In August 2019, we repurchased a total of 153,728 units under the common unit repurchase program for an aggregate cost of $1.6 million. In accordance with the provisions of the partnership agreement, all common units repurchased were deemed canceled and not outstanding, with immediate effect.

Organizational Changes

On October 1, 2019, Mr. Brian Tienzo stepped down as our Chief Executive Officer ("CEO") and Chief Financial Officer ("CFO") to focus full time as senior advisor for Golar group financings. Mr. Graham Robjohns was appointed as our CEO to serve until April 30, 2020, when he will step down as our CEO and leave Golar. We expect to announce his replacement imminently.


Partnership Matters

At our Annual Meeting of Limited Partners on September 27, 2019, Mr. Alf Thorkildsen was elected as a Class I Director of the Partnership. His term will expire at the 2022 Annual Meeting of Limited Partners.

On October 1, 2019, the Partnership's general partner appointed Ms. Georgina Sousa as a replacement for Mr. Michael Ashford as one of the general partner's three appointed Directors. Mr. Michael Ashford also retired as Company Secretary and was replaced by Ms. Georgina Sousa.

Series A Preferred Units ATM Program

On January 28, 2020, the Partnership entered into a sales agreement with a sales agent (the "Agent"), relating to the Partnership’s Series A Preferred Units. In accordance with the terms of the sales agreement, we may, through the Agent, offer and sell from time to time, Series A Preferred Units having an aggregate offering price of up to $120.0 million.


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Factors Affecting Our Results of Operations and Future Results
 
Our historical results of operations and cash flows may not be indicative of future results of operations and our results may be principally affected for the following reasons:

Vessels may be re-contracted at lower rates. We currently derive all of our revenue from a limited number of customers on charters. Hire rates for FSRUs and LNG carriers fluctuate over time as a result of changes in the supply-demand balance relating to current and future FSRU and LNG carrier capacity. Hire rates at a time when we may be seeking a new charter may be lower than the hire rates at which our vessels are currently chartered. In addition, certain of our time charters provide for significant reductions in hire rates payable during extension periods if the charterer extends the applicable charter beyond its initial term. If rates are lower, our earnings and ability to make distributions to our unitholders may decline.
Outbreaks of epidemic and pandemic diseases and governmental responses thereto could adversely affect our business. Our operations are subject to risks related to public health threats, including the recent COVID-19 pandemic, a virus causing potentially deadly respiratory tract infections originating in China, which has negatively affected global economic conditions and the demand for LNG and LNG shipping regionally as well as our operations and the operations of our charterers and suppliers. Governments in affected countries have imposed travel bans, quarantines and other emergency public health measures. Uncertainties regarding the economic impact of the COVID-19 outbreak are likely to result in sustained market turmoil, which could also negatively impact our business, financial condition and cash flows. Governments are approving large stimulus packages to mitigate the effects of the sudden decline in economic activity caused by the pandemic; however, we cannot predict the extent to which these measures will be sufficient to restore or sustain the business and financial condition of companies in the shipping industry. Governmental measures, though temporary in nature, may continue and increase depending on developments in outbreak of COVID-19. We have experienced the following disruption to our operations to-date:

crew changes have been cancelled and/or delayed due to port authorities denying disembarkation, a high potential of infection in countries where crew changes may otherwise have taken place and the inability to repatriate crew members due to lack of international air transport or denial of re-entry by crew members’ home countries, which may have closed their borders;

the inability to complete scheduled engine overhauls, routine maintenance work and management of equipment malfunctions;

shortages or a lack of access to required spare parts for our vessels, and delays in repairs to, or scheduled or unscheduled maintenance or modifications or dry docking of, our vessels, as a result of a lack of berths available by shipyards from a shortage in labor or due to other business disruptions;

delays in vessel inspections and related certifications by class societies, customers or government agencies; and

disruptions to business from, or additional costs related to, new regulations, directives or practices implemented in response to the pandemic, such as travel restrictions, increased inspection regimes, hygiene measures (such as quarantining and physical distancing) or increased implementation of remote working arrangements.

Given the recent fluidity of developments and the extensive response to the outbreak, we are continually receiving updated information and we are constantly reassessing the impact of COVID-19 on our operations. Measures that we are taking in response to COVID-19 include:

All crew changes have been cancelled until further notice and this will be continually reviewed as the situation develops;

Arrangements to accept delivery of additional spare parts and critical supplies are made where possible in supply chains;

Planned engine overhaul and routine maintenance services have been cancelled where possible, and arrangements for remote servicing of equipment are being made wherever possible;

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Non-critical boardings are being cancelled, current visits are limited to vettings inspectors, pilots and port officials, where allowed, and procedures have been implemented on board to limit the risk of human-to-human transmission from visiting personnel;

Global offices were closed in advance of government-mandated lockdown dates to minimize the opportunity for human-to-human transmission, IT systems and network capacity have proven to be robust, and no interruption to business support functions and no implications to financial reporting systems or internal controls over financial reporting have been identified; and

Flexible working arrangements have been made for those with children, non-critical projects have been postponed and various governmental support schemes and grants are being explored.

In addition prolonged periods of low utilization and hire rates arising as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak could also result in the recognition of impairment charges on our vessels if future cash flow estimates, based upon information available at the time, indicate that the carrying value of these vessels may not be recoverable. Such impairment charges may cause lenders to accelerate loan payments under our financing agreements.

Our results may be affected by tax exposure. Tax accounting and reporting judgments that we make may not be entirely free from doubt. It is possible that applicable tax authorities will disagree with our positions, possibly resulting in additional taxes being owed in future years. We are also subject to changes in regulatory requirements. For instance, tax authorities issuing tax assessments for property tax on the basis of new legislation introduced that specifically list FSRUs as being treated as objects liable to land & buildings tax, when it previously did not. More information on certain tax exposures that may affect our future results is included within note 26 “Other Commitments and Contingencies” in our consolidated financial statements.
The amount and timing of drydocking and the number of drydocking days of our vessels can significantly affect our revenues between periods. Our vessels are off-hire at various points of time due to scheduled and unscheduled maintenance. During the years ended December 31, 2019, 2018 and 2017, we had 45, 134 and 123 off-hire days, respectively, relating to drydocking of our vessels. Material differences in the number of off-hire days from period to period could cause financial results to differ materially.
We intend to increase the size of our fleet by making other acquisitions. Our growth strategy focuses on expanding our fleet through the acquisition of FSRUs, LNG carriers and FLNGs under long-term time charters from Golar or third parties. We may need to issue additional equity or incur additional indebtedness to fund additional vessels that we purchase.
Our vessels' net book value may be impaired. Our vessels are reviewed for impairment whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate that the carrying amount may not be recoverable. In assessing the recoverability of our long-lived assets' carrying amounts, we make assumptions regarding estimated future cash flows, such as the vessels' economic useful life and estimates in respect of residual or scrap value. If the market value of our ships declines, we may be required to record an impairment charge in our financial statements, which could adversely affect our results of operations.
We may enter into different financing arrangements. Our financing arrangements currently in place may not be representative of the arrangements we will enter into in the future. For example, we may amend our existing credit facilities or enter into new financing arrangements. For descriptions of our current financing arrangements, please read “—B. Liquidity and Capital Resources—Borrowing Activities.”
Our results are affected by fluctuations in the fair value of our derivative instruments. The change in fair value of our derivative instruments is included in our net income as we have no existing derivative instruments held for hedging. These changes may fluctuate significantly as interest rates fluctuate. Please read note 24 “Financial Instruments” in our Consolidated Financial Statements. 
Our results may be affected by fluctuations in our vessel operating costs. Factors such as shortage of qualified and experienced seafaring crew and pressure on raw material prices could increase our operating expenditures. Although we continue to take measures to improve operational efficiencies and mitigate the impact of inflation and price escalations, future increases to operational cost may occur. In addition, the Golar Spirit has been in lay-up since August 2017 and the Golar Mazo will be placed into lay-up shortly. We receive no revenues for vessels while they are in lay-up or being converted, but we benefit from lower vessel operating costs, principally from reduced crew on board, and minimal maintenance requirements and voyage costs.
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Our investment in Hilli LLC may not result in anticipated profitability or generate cash flow sufficient to justify our investment. The Hilli is the world’s first converted FLNG vessel. FLNG vessels are complex and their operations are technically challenging and subject to mechanical risks.  Accordingly, the operations of the Hilli are subject to risks that could negatively impact affect our earnings and financial condition. In addition, we provided the Partnership Guarantee and the LOC Guarantee in connection with the Hilli Acquisition. We could be liable under these guarantees if Hilli Corp fails to service its debt or comply with its debt covenants under the Hilli Facility or fails to perform under the LTA. This could also impact our ability to obtain future credit.

Important Financial and Operational Terms and Concepts 
We use a variety of financial and operational terms and concepts when analyzing our performance. These include the following:
 
Total Operating Revenues. Total operating revenues mainly pertains to lease payments under time charters where we act as lessor in operating lease arrangements, fees for repositioning vessels as well as the reimbursement of certain vessel operating costs such as drydocking costs and taxes in relation to these leasing arrangements. We record fixed revenues generated from time charters, which we classify as operating leases, on a straight line basis over the term of the charter as the service is provided. Any variable payments relating to the lease arrangements are recognized as incurred in the relevant period. We do not recognize revenue during days when the vessel is off-hire unless the agreement makes a specific exception.
 
Off-hire (Including Commercial Waiting Time). Our vessels may be idle, that is, off-hire, for several reasons: scheduled drydocking or special survey or vessel upgrade or maintenance or inspection, which we refer to as scheduled off-hire; days spent waiting for a charter, which we refer to as commercial waiting time; and unscheduled repairs, maintenance, operational deficiencies, equipment breakdown, accidents, crewing strikes, certain vessel detentions or similar problems, or our failure to maintain the vessel in compliance with its specifications and contractual standards or to provide the required crew, which we refer to as unscheduled off-hire.

Drydocking. We must periodically drydock each of our vessels for inspection, repairs and maintenance and any modifications required to comply with industry certification or governmental requirements. Except for the NR Satu and Golar Freeze, which will go into drydock after their charter with their respective charterer, we generally drydock each of our vessels every five years. In addition, a shipping society classification intermediate survey is performed on our LNG carriers between the second and third year of a five-year drydocking period. We capitalize a substantial portion of the costs incurred during drydocking and for the survey and amortize those costs on a straight-line basis from the completion of a drydocking or intermediate survey over the estimated useful life of the drydock. We expense as incurred costs for routine repairs and maintenance performed during drydocking or intermediate survey that do not improve or extend the useful lives of the assets. The number of drydockings undertaken in a given period and the nature of the work performed determine the level of drydocking expenditures.
 
Voyage and Commission Expenses. Voyage expenses, which primarily comprise of fuel costs but also include other costs such as port charges, are paid by our customers under our time charters. However, we may incur voyage related expenses during off-hire periods when positioning or repositioning vessels before or after the period of a time charter or before or after drydocking, which expenses will be payable by us. We also incur some voyage expenses, principally fuel costs, when our vessels are in periods of commercial waiting time.

Time Charter Equivalent Earnings. In order to compare vessels trading under different types of charters, it is standard industry practice to measure the revenue performance of a vessel in terms of average daily TCE. For our time charters, this is calculated by dividing the sum of (a) total operating revenue and (b) amount invoiced under sales-type lease, less voyage and commission expenses, by the number of calendar days minus days for scheduled off-hire. Where we are paid a fee to position or reposition a vessel before or after a time charter, this additional revenue, is included in the calculation of TCE. For shipping companies utilizing voyage charters (where the vessel owner pays voyage costs instead of the charterer), TCE is calculated by dividing voyage revenues, net of vessel voyage costs, by the number of calendar days minus days for scheduled off-hire. TCE is a non-GAAP financial measure. See “Item 3. Key Financial Information—A. Selected Financial Data—Non-GAAP Financial Measure” for a reconciliation of TCE to total operating revenues (TCE’s most directly comparable financial measure in accordance with GAAP).
 
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Vessel Operating Expenses. Vessel operating expenses include direct vessel operating costs associated with operating a vessel, such as crew wages, which are the most significant component, vessel supplies, routine repairs, maintenance, lubricating oils, insurance and management fees for the provision of commercial and technical management services.

Adjusted EBITDA. Modification of the FSRU Golar Freeze charter agreement on May 15, 2019, led to a reassessment of the contract under lease accounting rules. This modification resulted in the contract changing from an operating lease to a sales-type lease ("Golar Freeze Finance Lease"). This accounting change resulted in the recognition of the capital hire revenue as “Interest Income” based on a rate implicit in the contract while service revenue is recognized straight line over the life of the contract. In order to compare the performance of the Golar Freeze with our wider business, management has determined that it will measure the performance of the Golar Freeze Charter based on Adjusted EBITDA (EBITDA as adjusted for the amount invoiced under sales-type lease in the period).

Adjusted EBITDA is calculated by totaling the sum of each segment's operating revenues and amounts invoiced under sales-type lease, less: vessel operating expenses, voyage and commission expenses and administrative expenses. The FLNG segment reflects our effective share of revenue and expenses attributable to our 50% ownership of the Hilli Common Units that was acquired in July 2018. Adjusted EBITDA is a financial measure used by management and investors to assess the Partnership’s total financial and operating performance. Management believes that Adjusted EBITDA assists management and investors by increasing comparability of its total performance from period to period and against the performance of other companies.

 Depreciation and Amortization. Depreciation and amortization expense, or the periodic cost charged to our income for the reduction in usefulness and long-term value of our vessels, is related to the number of vessels we own or operate for contractual future leasing. We depreciate the cost of our owned vessels, less their estimated residual value, and amortize the amount of our finance lease assets over their estimated economic useful lives, on a straight-line basis. 

We amortize our drydocking costs generally over five years based on each vessel’s next anticipated drydocking.  Income derived from sale and subsequently leased assets is deferred and amortized in proportion to the amortization of the leased assets. Also, we amortize our intangible assets, which pertain to customer related and contract-based assets representing primarily long-term time charter party agreements acquired in connection with the acquisition of certain subsidiaries from Golar, over the term of the time charter party agreement.
 
Administrative Expenses. We are party to a management and services agreement with Golar Management, under which Golar Management provides certain management and administrative services to us and is reimbursed for costs and expenses incurred in connection with these services at a cost plus 5% basis. The balance of administrative expenses relate to corporate expenses such as legal, accounting and regulatory compliance costs.

Interest Expense and Interest Income. Interest expense depends on our overall level of borrowing and may significantly increase when we acquire or lease vessels. In addition, by virtue of sale and leaseback transactions we have or may enter into with lessor VIEs, where we are deemed to be the primary beneficiary. We are required to consolidate the VIEs into our results. Although consolidated into our results, we have no control over the funding arrangements negotiated by these lessor VIE entities which includes the interest rates to be applied. For additional detail, refer to note 5 "Variable Interest Entities" to our Consolidated Financial Statements. Interest expense may also change with prevailing interest rates, although interest rate swaps or other derivative instruments may reduce the effect of these changes. Interest income will depend on prevailing interest rates and the level of our cash deposits and restricted cash deposits. Interest income also includes interest income in relation to our sales-type lease for which we are the lessor.
 
(Losses)/gains on Derivative Instruments. (Losses)/gains on derivative instruments include market valuation adjustments for interest rate swap derivatives, realized interest income/(expense) on interest rate swaps and market valuation adjustments on Earn-Out Units. The market valuation adjustment for our interest rate and foreign currency derivatives may have a significant impact on our results of operations and financial position although it does not materially impact our short-term liquidity unless we terminate these swaps before their maturity.

Other Financial Items. Other financial items include financing fee arrangement costs such as commitment fees on credit facilities, foreign exchange gains/losses and other realized gains/(losses) on our financial instruments.  Foreign exchange gains or losses arise due to the retranslation of our finance lease obligations and the cash deposits securing those obligations. Any gain or loss represents an unrealized gain or loss and will arise over time as a result of exchange rate movements. Our liquidity position will only be affected to the extent that we choose or are required to withdraw monies from or pay additional monies into the deposits securing our finance lease obligations.

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Non-Controlling Interest. Non-controlling interest refers to the 40% interest in the Golar Mazo. In addition, since our entry into a sale and leaseback arrangement with a wholly-owned subsidiary (or “Eskimo SPV”) of China Merchants Bank Leasing (“CMBL”) in November 2015 relating to the Golar Eskimo, we have consolidated the Eskimo SPV into our results. Thus, the equity attributable to CMBL is included in our non-controlling interest. For additional details, see note 5 “Variable Interest Entities” to our Consolidated Financial Statements included herein.

Equity in net earnings of affiliate. Our affiliate represents our 50% interest in the Hilli Common Units which is accounted for by the equity method of accounting. The excess of the purchase price over book value of our investments in equity method affiliates, or basis difference, is included in the consolidated balance sheets as "Investment in affiliate". We allocate the basis difference across the assets and liabilities of the affiliate, with the residual assigned to goodwill. The basis difference will then be amortized through the consolidated statements of operations as part of the equity method of accounting. Under the equity method of accounting, we recognize gains and losses in the income statement as equity in net earnings or losses of affiliate based on the economic results allocated based on a contractual agreement, net of interest, tax and basis difference amortization.
 
Inflation and Cost Increases
 
Although inflation has had a moderate impact on operating expenses, interest costs, drydocking expenses and overhead, we do not expect inflation to have a significant impact on direct costs in the current and foreseeable economic environment other than potentially in relation to insurance costs and crew costs. Insurance costs have historically seen periods of high cost inflation, although not within the last 12 months. It is anticipated that insurance costs may continue to rise in the future. LNG transportation is a business that requires specialist skills that take some time to acquire and the number of vessels is increasing. Similarly, historically, there have been periods of increased demand for qualified crew, which has and may in future put inflationary pressure on crew costs. Only vessels on full cost pass-through charters would be fully protected from crew cost increases. The impact of these increases will be mitigated to some extent by the following provisions in our existing charters:

The Methane Princess’s and the Golar Eskimo’s charters provide that the operating cost component of the charter hire rate, established at the beginning of the charter, will increase by a fixed percentage per annum (except for insurance in the case of the Methane Princess, which is covered at cost).
Under the OSA for the Golar Winter, the charter hire rates are payable in Brazilian Reais. The charter hire rates payable under the OSA covers all vessel operating expenses, other than drydocking and insurance. The charter hire rate payable under the OSA was established between the parties at the time the charter was entered into and will be increased based on a specified mix of consumer price and U.S. Dollar foreign exchange rate indices on an annual basis.
The NR Satu time charter provides for an annual adjustment to the operating expense component of the charter hire rate as necessary to take into account cost movements.


A.            Operating Results

Year Ended December 31, 2019 Compared with the Year Ended December 31, 2018  

The following details the Adjusted EBITDA information for our reportable segments; FSRUs, LNG carriers and FLNG for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2018.

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December 31, 2019December 31, 2018
(dollars in thousands)FSRULNG CarrierFLNG
Elimination(1)
Consolidated ReportingFSRULNG CarrierFLNG
Elimination(1)
Consolidated Reporting
Total operating revenues$240,695  $58,957  $104,073  $(104,073) $299,652  $294,889  $51,761  49,754  (49,754) $346,650  
Vessel operating expenses(40,978) (19,980) (23,042) 23,042  (60,958) (42,736) (22,511) (9,834) 9,834  (65,247) 
Voyage and commission expenses(4,467) (3,181) (230) 230  (7,648) (7,138) (4,084) (434) 434  (11,222) 
Administrative expenses(2)
(8,090) (5,322) (1,093) 1,093  (13,412) (9,384) (5,425) (1,306) 1,306  (14,809) 
Amount invoiced under sales-type lease11,500  —  —  (11,500) —  —  —  —  —  —  
Adjusted EBITDA198,660  30,474  79,708  (91,208) 217,634  235,631  19,741  38,180  (38,180) 255,372  
(1) Eliminations reverse the effective share of revenues, expenses, and Adjusted EBITDA attributable to our 50% ownership of the Hilli Common Units, as well as the amount invoiced under sales-type lease on the Golar Freeze.
(2) Indirect administrative expenses are allocated to the FSRU and LNG carrier segments based on the number of vessels while administrative expenses for the FLNG segment relates to our effective share of expenses attributable to our 50% ownership of the Hilli Common Units. See the discussion under “—Other Operating Results” below.


FSRU Segment

The following table sets forth the operating results of our FSRU segment for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2018.
 Year Ended December 31,  
 20192018Change% Change
Statement of Operations Data:(dollars in thousands, except TCE)
Total operating revenues$240,695  $294,889  $(54,194) (18)%
Vessel operating expenses(40,978) (42,736) 1,758  (4)%
Voyage and commission expenses(4,467) (7,138) 2,671  (37)%
Administrative expenses(8,090) (9,384) 1,294  (14)%
Amount invoiced under sales-type lease11,500  —  11,500  100 %
FSRU Adjusted EBITDA$198,660  $235,631  $(36,971) (16)%
Other Financial Data:
Average daily TCE(1)
$139,173  $171,689  $(32,516) (19)%
(1) Refer to “Item 3. Key Information—A. Selected Financial Data—Non-GAAP Financial Measure.” for a definition of average daily TCE and reconciliation to its most directly comparable GAAP financial measure.

Total operating revenues: Total operating revenues decreased by $54.2 million to $240.7 million for the year ended December 31, 2019 compared to $294.9 million in 2018. This was primarily due to:

a $46.5 million reduction in revenue from the Golar Freeze mainly as a result of (i) recognition of all remaining revenue on her previous charter which had an original expiration date of April 2019, during the year ended December 31, 2018, as the vessel was no longer available under the previous charter; (ii) reduced daily hire rate from the current charter for the year ended December 31, 2019 compared to the previous charter hire rate for the year ended December 31, 2018; and (iii) the impact of the Golar Freeze Charter being modified to a sales-type lease on May 15, 2019. Subsequently, all income from the Golar Freeze Finance Lease is recognized as interest income rather than revenue; and
a $7.7 million reduction in revenue from the Golar Igloo due to (i) a reduced daily hire rate during the year ended December 31, 2019 compared to 2018 and (ii) the vessel being offhire during December 2019, as her charter ended in November 2019.
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The decrease was slightly offset by a $1.3 million increase in revenue from the Golar Winter as a result of increased daily hire rate for the year ended December 31, 2019 compared to 2018.

Vessel operating expenses: The decrease of $1.8 million in vessel operating expenses to $41.0 million for the year ended December 31, 2019 as compared to $42.7 million in 2018 was primarily due to a $2.4 million decrease in repair and maintenance costs incurred by the Golar Eskimo, Golar Igloo and NR Satu during the year ended December 31, 2019. The decrease was partially offset by a $0.8 million increase in vessel operating expenses for the Golar Freeze during the year ended December 31, 2019, due to higher repair and maintenance cost and increased operational costs incurred pursuant to her charter in Jamaica, compared to her previous charter in Dubai.
Voyage and commission expenses: Voyage and commission expenses decreased by $2.7 million to $4.5 million for the year ended December 31, 2019 compared to $7.1 million in 2018, mainly due to Golar Freeze incurring lower bunker costs in the year ended December 31, 2019 compared to 2018 when she incurred bunker cost sailing to the yard for her scheduled drydock.

Amount invoiced under sales-type lease: This represents the actual invoiced amounts on the Golar Freeze Finance Lease. As the income generated from the Golar Freeze Finance Lease is not reflected in our total operating revenues, we have included the amounts invoiced under the lease in arriving at our FSRU Adjusted EBITDA for the year ended December 31, 2019 to enable comparability with the rest of our FSRU segment's charters.

FSRU Adjusted EBITDA: The FSRU Adjusted EBITDA decreased by $37.0 million to $198.7 million for the year ended December 31, 2019 compared to $235.6 million in 2018. This was primarily due to the reduced revenues from the Golar Freeze and the Golar Igloo charters for the year ended December 31, 2019, which were partially offset by the decrease in vessel operating expenses and voyage and commission expenses.

Average daily TCE(1): The average daily TCE for the year ended December 31, 2019 decreased by $32,516 to $139,173 compared to $171,689 in 2018, mainly due to a reduction in total operating revenue from the Golar Freeze and the Golar Igloo charters. This was combined with the impact of decreased number of scheduled off-hire days as the Golar Freeze was onhire for a longer period of time in the year ended December 31, 2019 compared to 2018 as a result of her scheduled drydocking in 2018.


LNG Carrier Segment

The following table sets forth the operating results of our LNG carrier segment for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2018.
 Year Ended December 31,  
 20192018Change% Change
Statement of Operations Data:(dollars in thousands, except TCE)
Total operating revenues$58,957  $51,761  $7,196  14 %
Vessel operating expenses(19,980) (22,511) 2,531  (11)%
Voyage and commission expenses(3,181) (4,084) 903  (22)%
Administrative expenses(5,322) (5,425) 103  (2)%
LNG carrier Adjusted EBITDA$30,474  $19,741  $10,733  54 %
Other Financial Data:
Average daily TCE(1)
$38,360  $33,575  $4,785  14 %
(1) Refer to “Item 3. Key Information—A. Selected Financial Data—Non-GAAP Financial Measure.” for a definition of average daily TCE and reconciliation to its most directly comparable GAAP financial measure.

Operating revenues: Total operating revenues increased by $7.2 million to $59.0 million for the year ended December 31, 2019 compared to $51.8 million in 2018. This was primarily due to an increase in hire rates for the Golar Grand and Golar Maria for the year ended December 31, 2019, compared to the previous hire rates for 2018. In addition, the Golar Maria and Methane Princess were on-hire for longer periods in the year ended December 31, 2019 compared to 2018 as Golar
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Maria had shorter charters in the year ended December 31, 2018, and Methane Princess underwent her scheduled drydocking in the year ended December 31, 2018.

Vessel operating expenses: The decrease of $2.5 million in vessel operating expenses to $20.0 million for the year ended December 31, 2019, as compared to $22.5 million in 2018, was primarily due to a decrease in operating cost for the Methane Princess as she incurred higher repair and maintenance costs during her scheduled drydocking in the year ended December 31, 2018.

Voyage and commission expenses: Voyage and commission expenses decreased by $0.9 million to $3.2 million for the year ended December 31, 2019 compared to $4.1 million in 2018, primarily due to:

a $1.3 million decrease in voyage expenses for the Golar Maria due to incremental positioning and bunker cost incurred for the year ended December 31, 2018, which were subsequently recouped from the charterer following her entry into spot charters. There were no comparable costs for the year ended December 31, 2019; and

a $0.5 million decrease in voyage expenses for the Methane Princess due to bunker cost incurred when she sailed from the shipyard where she carried out her scheduled drydocking in the year ended December 31, 2018. There was no comparable costs for the year ended December 31, 2019.

This was partially offset by a $0.8 million increase in voyage expenses for the Golar Mazo during the year ended December 31, 2019, due to incremental positioning and bunker costs incurred for the year ended December 31, 2019, which was subsequently recouped from the charterer.

LNG carrier Adjusted EBITDA: The LNG carrier Adjusted EBITDA increased by $10.7 million to $30.5 million for the year ended December 31, 2019 compared to $19.7 million in 2018. This was primarily due to the increased revenue for the Methane Princess, Golar Grand and Golar Maria, combined with a decrease in vessel operating cost for the Methane Princess for the year ended December 31, 2019.

Average daily TCE(1): The average daily TCE for the year ended December 31, 2019 increased by $4,785 to $38,360 compared to $33,575 in 2018. This was primarily due to the increased revenue for the Methane Princess, Golar Grand and Golar Maria, combined with a decrease in voyage and commission expenses for the Golar Maria and Methane Princess for the year ended December 31, 2019.

FLNG Segment

We carry out our FLNG business through our ownership of 50% of the Hilli Common Units effective from July 2018. Although we account for our investment as an equity method investment, which is presented in “Equity in net earnings of affiliate” within our statements of operations, we report our segment on a gross basis showing our proportionate share of the underlying business activities.

The following table sets forth the operating results of our FLNG Segment for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2018.
 Year Ended December 31,  
 20192018Change% Change
Statement of Operations Data:(dollars in thousands)
Total operating revenues$104,073  $49,754  $54,319  109 %
Vessel operating expenses(23,042) (9,834) (13,208) 134 %
Voyage and commission expenses(230) (434) 204  (47)%
Administrative expenses(1,093) (1,306) 213  (16)%
FLNG Adjusted EBITDA$79,708  $38,180  $41,528  109 %

FLNG Adjusted EBITDA: Our effective share of the FLNG Adjusted EBITDA for the year ended December 31, 2019 increased by $41.5 million to $79.7 million compared to $38.2 million in 2018, due to the Hilli being in operation for the entire year ended December 31, 2019 compared to 172 days in the year ended December 31, 2018.

Other operating results
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The following details our unallocated consolidated results for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2018:
 Year Ended December 31,  
 20192018Change% Change
 (dollars in thousands)
Other non-operating income$4,795  $449  $4,346  968 %
Depreciation and amortization(83,239) (98,812) 15,573  (16)%
Administrative expenses(13,412) (14,809) 1,397  (9)%
Interest income13,278  8,950  4,328  48 %
Interest expense(79,791) (80,650) 859  (1)%
(Losses)/gains on derivative instruments(38,796) 8,106  (46,902) (579)%
Other financial items, net675  (592) 1,267  (214)%
Taxes(17,962) (17,465) (497) %
Non-controlling interest(3,329) (3,358) 29  (1)%

Other non-operating income: Other non-operating income increased by $4.3 million to $4.8 million for the year ended December 31, 2019 compared to $0.5 million in 2018. This was primarily due to the gain recognized upon the Golar Freeze charter modification from an operating lease to a sales-type lease. This classification change resulted in the de-recognition of the vessel asset carrying value, the recognition of net investment in leased vessel, and a gain on disposal of $4.2 million.

Depreciation and amortization: Depreciation and amortization decreased by $15.6 million to $83.2 million for the year ended December 31, 2019 compared to $98.8 million in 2018. This was primarily due to:

an $11.6 million reduction in the depreciation and amortization of the Golar Freeze following extension of her useful economic life to reflect the vessel being utilized for the new 15-year charter, combined with depreciation and amortization ceasing following the derecognition of the vessel from balance sheet line item "Vessels and equipment, net" on May 15, 2019;

a $2.9 million decrease in the amortization of the intangible asset acquired in connection with the acquisition of the Golar Igloo to align the intangible asset's useful economic life with the amended lease term following exercise of the extension option; and

a $0.7 million decrease in the drydock amortization of Golar Spirit as her drydock cost was fully amortized within the first quarter of 2018. No such comparable cost was incurred during the year ended December 31, 2019.
Administrative expenses: Administrative expenses decreased by $1.4 million to $13.4 million for the year ended December 31, 2019 compared to $14.8 million in 2018. We are party to a management and services agreement with Golar Management, under which Golar Management provides certain management and administrative services to us and is reimbursed for costs and expenses incurred in connection with these services at a cost plus 5% basis. Under this arrangement, for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2018, we incurred charges of $9.6 million and $9.8 million, respectively. The remaining balance of administrative expenses amounting to $3.8 million and $5.0 million for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2018, respectively, relate to corporate expenses such as legal, accounting and regulatory compliance costs.

Interest income: Interest income increased by $4.3 million to $13.3 million for the year ended December 31, 2019, compared to $9.0 million in 2018. This was primarily due to $9.5 million interest income recognized in relation to the Golar Freeze Finance Lease for the year ended December 31, 2019. There was no such interest income for the year ended December 31, 2018. This increase was offset by $4.8 million interest income earned during the year ended December 31, 2018 on the $107.2 million Deferred Purchase Price relating to the Tundra Put Sale and the $70 million deposit paid upon execution of the purchase agreement for the Hilli Acquisition. No such interest income was recorded in the year ended December 31, 2019.

Interest expense: Interest expense decreased by $0.9 million to $79.8 million for the year ended December 31, 2019, compared to $80.7 million in 2018. In addition to reduced interest costs due to lower LIBOR rates, the decrease in interest expense was primarily due to:

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a $1.5 million decrease in interest expense and amortization of deferred financing costs as a result of our refinancing of the NR Satu debt facility in early 2018;

a $1.7 million decrease in amortization of deferred financing costs for the Golar Eskimo, which was fully amortized in 2018; and

a $0.4 million decrease in interest expense arising on the loan facility of our consolidated Eskimo VIE.

This was offset by:

a $1.8 million of incremental interest on our $800 million credit facility as a result of the additional balance drawn under the revolving credit facility; and

a $1.2 million of incremental interest on our Norwegian Bonds during the year ended December 31, 2019.

(Losses)/gains on derivative instruments: (Losses)/gains on derivative instruments, reflects a loss of $38.8 million and a gain of $8.1 million for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2018, respectively, as set forth in the table below:
 Year ended December 31,  
20192018$ Change% Change
(dollars in thousands)
Mark-to-market losses for interest rate swaps$(43,746) $(1,455) $(42,291) 2,907 %
Net interest income on un-designated interest rate swaps4,950  2,161  2,789  129 %
Net unrealized and realized (losses)/gains on interest rate swaps(38,796) 706  (39,502) (5,595)%
Mark-to-market gains on Earn-Out Units—  7,400  (7,400) (100)%
Total$(38,796) $8,106  $(46,902) (579)%

Net unrealized and realized (losses)/gains on interest rate swaps: Net unrealized and realized (losses)/gains on interest rate swaps resulted in a net loss of $38.8 million for the year ended December 31, 2019, compared to a net gain of $0.7 million in 2018 due to decrease in long-term swap interest rates in 2019 which has resulted in a loss on the mark-to-market valuation of our interest rate swaps.

Mark-to-market gains on Earn-Out Units: We recognized a mark-to-market gain of $7.4 million for the year ended December 31, 2018. On October 24, 2018, we declared a reduced quarterly distribution of $0.4042 per common unit. Consequently, the second tranche of Earn-Out Units were not issued. There is no comparable movement for the year ended December 31, 2019.

Other financial items, net: Other financial items reflect a gain of $0.7 million and a loss of $0.6 million for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2018, respectively, as set forth in the table below:
Year ended December 31,  
20192018Change% Change
(dollars in thousands)
Foreign exchange (losses)/gains on finance lease obligations and related restricted cash$(941) $1,105  $(2,046) (185)%
Amortization of Partnership guarantee2,065  503  1,562  311 %
Financing arrangement fees and other costs(531) (1,363) 832  (61)%
Foreign exchange gains/(losses) on operations82  (837) 919  (110)%
$675  $(592) $1,267  (214)%

Foreign exchange (losses)/gains on finance lease obligations and related restricted cash: Represents foreign currency differences arising on retranslation of foreign currency balances including foreign currency movements on the Methane Princess lease which is denominated in Pound Sterling.

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Amortization of Partnership Guarantee: Represents the amortization for the year ended December 31, 2019 of the fair value of the Partnership Guarantee provided in connection with the Hilli Acquisition. See Note 25 “Related Party Transactions” to our Consolidated Financial Statements included herein.


Year Ended December 31, 2018 Compared with the Year Ended December 31, 2017  

        The following details the Adjusted EBITDA information for our reportable segments; FSRUs, LNG carriers and FLNG for the years ended December 31, 2018 and 2017.
December 31, 2018December 31, 2017
(dollars in thousands)FSRULNG CarrierFLNG
Elimination(1)
Consolidated ReportingFSRULNG CarrierFLNG
Elimination(1)
Consolidated Reporting
Total operating revenues$294,889  $51,761  $49,754  $(49,754) $346,650  $316,599  $116,503  —  —  $433,102  
Vessel operating expenses(42,736) (22,511) (9,834) 9,834  (65,247) (47,960) (20,318) —  —  (68,278) 
Voyage and commission expenses(7,138) (4,084) (434) 434  (11,222) (8,375) (1,319) —  —  (9,694) 
Administrative expenses(2)
(9,384) (5,425) (1,306) 1,306  (14,809) (10,029) (5,181) —  —  (15,210) 
Adjusted EBITDA
$235,631  $19,741  $38,180  $(38,180) $255,372  $250,235  $89,685  —  —  $339,920  
(1) Eliminations reverse the effective share of revenues, expenses, and Adjusted EBITDA attributable to our 50% ownership of the Hilli Common Units.
(2) Indirect administrative expenses are allocated to the FSRU and LNG carrier segments based on the number of vessels while administrative expenses for the FLNG segment relates to our effective share of expenses attributable to our 50% ownership of the Hilli Common Units. See the discussion under “—Other Operating Results” below.


FSRU Segment

        The following table sets forth the operating results of our FSRU segment for the years ended December 31, 2018 and 2017.
 Year Ended December 31,  
 20182017Change% Change
Statement of Operations Data:(dollars in thousands, except TCE)
Total operating revenues$294,889  $316,599  $(21,710) (7)%
Vessel operating expenses(42,736) (47,960) 5,224  (11)%
Voyage and commission expenses(7,138) (8,375) 1,237  (15)%
Administrative expenses(9,384) (10,029) 645  (6)%
FSRU Adjusted EBITDA235,631  250,235  (14,604) (6)%
Other Financial Data:
Average daily TCE(1)
$171,689  $159,950  $11,739  %
(1) Refer to “Item 3. Key Information—A. Selected Financial Data—Non-GAAP Financial Measure.” for a definition of average daily TCE and reconciliation to its most directly comparable GAAP financial measure.

Total operating revenues: Total operating revenues decreased by $21.7 million to $294.9 million for the year ended December 31, 2018 compared to $316.6 million in 2017. This was primarily due to a $43.3 million reduction in revenue from the Golar Spirit following the early termination of her time charter in 2017 and a $4.0 million reduction in revenue from the NR Satu due to a reduction of the daily time charter rate in 2018.

This was partially offset by:

a $12.1 million increase due to recognition of all of Golar Freeze's revenue until the end of her previous charter in the year ended December 31, 2018. In July 2018, Golar Freeze was nominated to service the Golar Freeze Charter and subsequently underwent drydocking to satisfy certain technical specifications of the charter.
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Accordingly, we recognized all of the revenue due to be paid under the previous Golar Freeze charter which had an original expiration date of April 2019 as the vessel was no longer available; and
a $13.0 million increase in revenue from the Golar Winter in the year ended December 31, 2018 following her scheduled drydocking in 2017.

        Vessel operating expenses: The decrease of $5.2 million in vessel operating expenses to $42.7 million for the year ended December 31, 2018 as compared to $48.0 million in 2017 was principally due to:

a $4.1 million decrease in repairs and maintenance costs for the NR Satu during the year ended December 31, 2018 following her scheduled maintenance in 2017; and
a $3.8 million reduction in the operating costs associated with the Golar Spirit due to the vessel being placed in lay-up in August 2017 following the termination of her charter.
        This was partially offset by a $2.7 million increase in the Golar Freeze repairs and maintenance cost during her scheduled drydocking in July 2018.

        Voyage and commission expenses: Voyage and commission expenses decreased by $1.2 million to $7.1 million for the year ended December 31, 2018 compared to $8.4 million in 2017, mainly due to higher bunker costs incurred in connection with the Golar Spirit being placed in lay-up in August 2017 and the Golar Winter's scheduled drydocking in September 2017. This was partially offset by bunker and positioning costs incurred by the Golar Freeze in preparation for her new charter in 2019.
        
        FSRU Adjusted EBITDA: The FSRU Adjusted EBITDA decreased by $14.6 million to $235.6 million for the year ended December 31, 2018 compared to $250.2 million in 2017. This was primarily due to the Golar Spirit being in lay-up following the early termination of her time charter in 2017, resulting in lower total operating revenue, vessel operating expenses and voyage and commission expenses for the year ended December 31, 2018.

        Average daily TCE(1): The average daily TCE for the year ended December 31, 2018 increased by $11,739 to $171,689 compared to $159,950 for 2017 mainly due to a reduction in calendar days less scheduled off-hire days in the year ended December 31, 2018 as the Golar Spirit has been in lay-up since August 2017. The decrease in revenues from the Golar Spirit does not affect the average daily TCE in 2018 as the days when vessels are in lay-up are also considered scheduled off-hire days.

LNG Carrier Segment

        The following table sets forth the operating results of our LNG carrier Segment for the years ended December 31, 2018 and 2017.
 Year Ended December 31,  
 20182017Change% Change
Statement of Operations Data:(dollars in thousands, except TCE)
Total operating revenues$51,761  $116,503  $(64,742) (56)%
Vessel operating expenses(22,511) (20,318) (2,193) 11 %
Voyage and commission expenses(4,084) (1,319) (2,765) 210 %
Administrative expenses(5,425) (5,181) (244) %
LNG carrier Adjusted EBITDA$19,741  $89,685  $(69,944) (78)%
Other Financial Data:
Average daily TCE(1)
$33,575  $80,268  $(46,693) (58)%
(1) Refer to “Item 3. Key Information—A. Selected Financial Data—Non-GAAP Financial Measure.” for a definition of average daily TCE and reconciliation to its most directly comparable GAAP financial measure.

Operating revenues: Total operating revenues decreased by $64.7 million to $51.8 million for the year ended December 31, 2018 compared to $116.5 million in 2017. This was primarily due to:

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a $31.5 million reduction in revenue from the Golar Mazo as a result of the expiration of her charter in December 2017;

a $29.2 million reduction in revenue from the Golar Grand and the Golar Maria following the expiration of the charter back to Golar and her charter, respectively, in November 2017. The hire rates under the Golar Grand's and the Golar Maria's time charters with the new charterers are lower than the previous hire rates; and

a $4.0 million reduction in revenue from the Methane Princess resulting from her scheduled drydocking in 2018.
        
        Vessel operating expenses: The increase of $2.2 million in vessel operating expenses to $22.5 million for the year ended December 31, 2018, as compared to $20.3 million in 2017, was principally due to a $4.7 million increase in repair and maintenance costs in respect of the Golar Maria and Methane Princess in 2018.

        This was partially offset by a reduction of:

$1.3 million in operating costs for the Golar Mazo in 2018 following the expiration of her charter in December 2017; and

$1.2 million in operating costs for the Golar Grand in 2018 as she was taken out of lay-up and completed her drydock in 2017.

        Voyage and commission expenses: Voyage and commission expenses increased by $2.8 million to $4.1 million for the year ended December 31, 2018 compared to $1.3 million in 2017, primarily due to incremental positioning and bunker costs incurred by the Golar Mazo and Golar Maria for the year ended December 31, 2018 following the expiration of their long term charters in December 2017 and November 2017, respectively.

        LNG carrier Adjusted EBITDA: The LNG carrier Adjusted EBITDA decreased by $69.9 million to $19.7 million for the year ended December 31, 2018 compared to $89.7 million in 2017. This was primarily due to the reduction in revenue and higher positioning and bunker costs from the Golar Mazo and Golar Maria for the year ended December 31, 2018 following the expiration of their charters in 2017.

        Average daily TCE(1): The average daily TCE for the year ended December 31, 2018 decreased by $46,693 to $33,575 compared to $80,268 for the year ended December 31, 2017. This was due to (i) the Golar Mazo and Golar Maria being offhire following the expiration of their charters in December 2017 and November 2017, respectively; and (ii) lower hire rates for the Golar Grand following the expiration of the charter back arrangement with Golar in November 2017.

FLNG Segment

        The following table sets forth the operating results of our FLNG Segment for the years ended December 31, 2018 and 2017.
 Year Ended December 31,  
 20182017Change% Change
Statement of Operations Data:(dollars in thousands)
Total operating revenues$49,754  $—  49,754  100 %
Vessel operating expenses(9,834) —  (9,834) 100 %
Voyage and commission expenses(434) —  (434) 100 %
Administrative expenses(1,306) —  (1,306) 100 %
FLNG Adjusted EBITDA38,180  —  38,180  100 %

        FLNG Adjusted EBITDA: This refers to our effective share of the FLNG Adjusted EBITDA subsequent to the close of the Hilli Acquisition. There was no comparable amount in the year ended December 31, 2017.
        
Other operating results

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        The following details our unallocated consolidated results for the years ended December 31, 2018 and 2017:
 Year Ended December 31,  
 20182017Change% Change
 (dollars in thousands)
Other non-operating income$449  $922  $(473) (51)%
Depreciation and amortization(98,812) (103,810) 4,998  (5)%
Administrative expenses(14,809) (15,210) 401  (3)%
Interest income8,950  7,804  1,146  15 %
Interest expense(80,650) (75,425) (5,225) %
Gains on derivative instruments8,106  7,796  310  %
Other financial items, net(592) (15,363) 14,771  (96)%
Taxes(17,465) (16,996) (469) %
Non-controlling interest(3,358) (15,568) 12,210  (78)%

        Depreciation and amortization: Depreciation and amortization decreased by $5.0 million to $98.8 million for the year ended December 31, 2018, compared to $103.8 million in 2017. This was primarily due to a lower drydock amortization on both the Golar Spirit as her drydock cost was fully amortized within the first quarter of 2018, and on the Golar Winter following the completion of her scheduled drydocking in the fourth quarter of 2017.
        Administrative expenses: Administrative expenses decreased by $0.4 million to $14.8 million for the year ended December 31, 2018 compared to $15.2 million in 2017. Under the Management and Administrative Services Agreement with Golar Management, for the years ended December 31, 2018 and 2017, we incurred charges of $9.8 million and $7.8 million, respectively. The remaining balance of administrative expenses amounting to $5.0 million and $7.4 million for the years ended December 31, 2018 and 2017, respectively, relate to corporate expenses such as legal, accounting and regulatory compliance costs.

        Interest income: Interest income increased by $1.1 million to $9.0 million for the year ended December 31, 2018, compared to $7.8 million in 2017. This was principally due to the $2.4 million interest income earned on the $107.2 million Deferred Purchase Price relating to the Tundra Put Sale and the $70.0 million deposit paid upon execution of the Hilli Purchase Agreement, for which we earn interest at 5% per annum, from August and October 2017, respectively. Both amounts were applied to the purchase price for the Hilli Acquisition in July 2018. This was partially offset by lower interest income earned on our free cash balance in 2018.

        Interest expense: Interest expense increased by $5.2 million to $80.7 million for the year ended December 31, 2018, compared to $75.4 million in 2017. This was principally due to:

$2.0 million in additional interest due to a full year of interest expense arising on our $250 million of senior unsecured non-amortizing 2017 Norwegian Bonds, issued in February 2017;

$2.1 million incremental interest on the $800 million facility, due to higher LIBOR and additional interest as a result of the balance drawn under the revolving facility during 2018; and

$0.7 million incremental interest and amortization of deferred financing costs as a result of refinancing of the NR Satu facility in early 2018.

        Gains on derivative instruments: Gains on derivative instruments reflects a gain of $8.1 million and $7.8 million for the years ended December 31, 2018 and 2017, respectively, as set forth in the table below:
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 Year ended December 31,  
20182017$ Change% Change
(dollars in thousands)
Mark-to-market adjustment for interest rate swaps$(1,455) $12,073  $(13,528) (112)%
Net interest income/(expense) on un-designated interest rate swaps2,161  (7,554) 9,715  (129)%
Net unrealized and realized gains on interest rate swaps706  4,519  (3,813) (84)%
Mark-to-market gains/(losses) on Earn-Out Units7,400  (441) 7,841  (1,778)%
Gains on repurchase of cross-currency interest rate swap—  3,718  (3,718) (100)%
Total$8,106  $7,796  $310  %

        Net unrealized and realized gains on interest rate swaps: Net unrealized and realized gains on interest rate swaps resulted in a net gain of $0.7 million for the year ended December 31, 2018, compared to a net gain of $4.5 million in 2017 due to decrease in long-term swap interest rates in 2018 which has resulted in losses on the mark-to-market valuation of our interest rate swaps.

        Mark-to-market gains/(losses) on Earn-Out Units: On October 24, 2018, we declared a reduced quarterly distribution of $0.4042 per common unit. Consequently, the second tranche of Earn-Out Units were not issued. Accordingly, the associated derivative liability was reduced to $nil, resulting in a mark-to-market gain of $7.4 million for the year ended December 31, 2018 compared to a loss of $0.4 million for the year ended December 31, 2017.

        Gains on repurchase of cross-currency interest rate swap: This pertains to mark-to-market gains of $3.9 million on our cross-currency interest rates swap that was repurchased during 2017, offset by a foreign currency loss of $0.2 million. There is no comparable gain for the year ended December 31, 2018.

        Other financial items, net: Other financial items reflect a loss of $0.6 million and $15.4 million for the years ended December 31, 2018 and 2017, respectively, as set forth in the table below:
 Year Ended December 31,  
 20182017Change% Change
 (dollars in thousands)
Losses on repurchase of 2012 High-Yield Bonds$—  $(7,876) $7,876  100 %
Foreign exchange losses on 2012 High-Yield Bonds—  (3,103) 3,103  100 %
Premium paid on repurchase of 2012 High-Yield Bonds—  (2,820) 2,820  100 %
Other items(592) (1,564) 972  (62)%
Other financial items, net$(592) $(15,363) $14,771  (96)%

        Losses on repurchase of 2012 High-Yield Bonds: In the year ended December 31, 2017, as a consequence of the cessation of hedge accounting for the related cross currency interest rate swap (entered into as a hedge against our NOK denominated 2012 High-Yield Bonds), we reclassified $5.0 million of accumulated mark-to-market losses previously recorded within accumulated other comprehensive income to the statement of operations. We also recognized foreign exchange losses of $2.9 million arising from the repurchase of our 2012 High-Yield Bonds. There is no comparable cost for the year ended December 31, 2018.

        Foreign exchange losses on 2012 High-Yield Bonds: This pertains to the unrealized foreign exchange loss of $3.1 million for the remaining 2012 High-Yield Bonds for the year ended December 31, 2017. There is no comparable cost for the year ended December 31, 2018.

        Premium paid on repurchase of 2012 High-Yield Bonds: This pertains to the premium paid upon the repurchase of the 2012 High-Yield Bonds for the year ended December 31, 2017. There is no comparable cost for the year ended December 31, 2018.

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        Other items: Other items represent, among other things, foreign currency differences arising on retranslation of foreign currency balances including foreign currency movements on the Methane Princess lease. Foreign currency gains increased by $1.8 million as a result of the weakening of the US dollar against the Pound Sterling in 2018. This was offset by an increase in financing arrangement fees of $0.8 million.
        
        Non-controlling interest: Non-controlling interest decreased by $12.2 million to $3.4 million for the year ended December 31, 2018, compared to $15.6 million in 2017, mainly due to the reduction in net income from the Golar Mazo following the expiration of her charter in December 2017.




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B.           Liquidity and Capital Resources
 
Liquidity and Cash Needs
 
We operate in a capital-intensive industry and we expect to finance the purchase of additional vessels and other capital expenditures through a combination of borrowings from, and leasing arrangements with, commercial banks, cash generated from operations and debt and equity financings. In addition to paying distributions, our other short-term liquidity requirements relate to servicing interest on our debt, scheduled debt repayments, funding working capital requirements, including drydocking, and maintaining cash reserves against fluctuations in operating cash flows.
 
Our funding and treasury activities are intended to maximize investment returns while maintaining appropriate liquidity. Cash and cash equivalents are held primarily in U.S. Dollars with some balances held in other currencies. We use derivative instruments for interest rate and currency risk management purposes only.
 
Short-term Liquidity and Cash Requirements

Sources of short-term liquidity include cash balances, current restricted cash and short-term deposits, receipts from our charters and short-term loans from Golar. Revenues from the majority of our time charters are received monthly in advance. In addition we benefit from low inventory requirements due to the fact that fuel costs are generally paid for by the charterer under time charters.

As of December 31, 2019, our cash and cash equivalents, including restricted cash, were $229.9 million. Our total restricted cash balances (excluding $19.7 million in performance and bid bonds relating to certain of our charters) contribute to our short and medium term liquidity as they are used to fund payment of certain financial obligations (including loans, finance leases and derivatives) which would otherwise be paid out of our unrestricted cash balances. Since December 31, 2019, significant transactions impacting our cash flows include: 

payment of a cash distribution of $0.4042 per unit ($28.6 million in the aggregate) to all common and general partner unitholders with respect to the quarter ended December 31, 2019 in February 2020;

payment of a cash distribution of $0.546875 per Series A Preferred Unit ($3.0 million in the aggregate) for the period from November 15, 2019 through February 14, 2020, in February 2020;

payment of $31.7 million of scheduled debt principal and interest repayments;

payment of additional $11.8 million in collateral related to our interest rate swaps; and

receipt of $25.0 million loan from Golar in February 2020. We repaid the loan in full, including interest.

Other cash requirements

On April 1, 2020, we announced the initiation of a process to seek bondholder approval for an extension of the maturity date by 18 months, subject to certain terms and conditions, for our 2015 Norwegian Bonds and our 2017 Norwegian Bonds . We intend to use the 18 month extension period to arrange a long-term refinancing of the 2015 Norwegian Bonds and the 2017 Norwegian Bonds, which has not been possible in light of the current turmoil in the Nordic and international capital markets due in part to the adverse conditions caused by COVID-19.

We have scheduled a bondholder meeting on May 5, 2020 to approve the proposed amendments to the 2015 Norwegian Bonds and the 2017 Norwegian Bonds (the “Norwegian Bond Amendments”). In return for the 18 month extension, we will pay an amendment fee of 0.5% of the par value of all of the 2015 Norwegian Bonds and 2017 Norwegian Bonds. For more information, see “Item 5—Operating and Financial Review and Prospects—Significant Developments in 2019 and Early 2020”

Together with proceeds from our financing activities, as may be permitted under our current financing arrangements and the Norwegian Bond Amendments, and cash to be generated from our operations (assuming the current rates earned from existing charters continue until charter termination or expiration, where applicable) will be sufficient to cover our operational cash outflows and our ongoing obligations under our financing commitments to pay loan interest, make scheduled loan repayments and make cash distributions. Accordingly, we believe our current resources are sufficient to meet our working capital requirements for our current business for at least the next twelve months.
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Medium to Long-term Liquidity and Cash Requirements
 
Our medium to long-term liquidity requirements include funding the acquisition of new vessels, maintenance capital expenditures, the repayment of long-term debt including our $800 million credit facility, which is due to mature in April 2021, and the payment of distributions to our unitholders, to the extent we have sufficient cash from operations after the establishment of cash reserves and payment of fees. Management is currently exploring various options to obtain the necessary funds to refinance the maturing credit facility. We have a track record of successfully refinancing our debt requirements and given the strong fundamentals of the underlying assets (contracted cash flows and existing leverage ratios), we believe that it is probable that we will obtain the necessary funding to meet our payment obligations under the maturing $800 million credit facility in April 2021.

Generally, our long-term sources of funds will be cash from operations, long-term bank borrowings and other debt and equity financings. Because we will distribute the majority of our available cash, we expect that we will rely upon external financing sources, including bank borrowings and the issuance of debt and equity securities, to fund acquisitions and other expansion capital expenditures. Occasionally we may enter into vendor financing arrangements with Golar to provide intermediate financing for capital expenditures until longer-term financing is obtained, at which time we will use all or a portion of the proceeds from the longer-term financings to repay outstanding amounts due under these arrangements.

Our pursuit of further acquisitions is dependent upon our ability to successfully raise capital at a cost that makes such acquisitions accretive and economically viable.

Estimated Maintenance and Replacement Capital Expenditures

Our operating agreements require us to distribute our available cash each quarter. In determining the amount of cash available for distribution, our board of directors determines the amount of cash reserves to set aside, including reserves for future maintenance capital expenditures, working capital and other matters. The capital expenditures we are required to make to maintain our fleet are substantial. As of December 31, 2019, our annual estimated maintenance and replacement capital expenditures are $62.9 million, which is comprised of $16.4 million for drydock maintenance and $46.5 million, including financing costs, for replacing our existing vessels at the end of their useful lives and estimated capital expenditure relating to our share of our equity accounted affiliate.

The estimate for future vessel replacement is based on assumptions regarding the remaining useful life of our vessels, a net investment rate applied on reserves, replacement values of our vessels based on current market conditions and the residual value of our vessels. The actual cost of replacing the vessels in our fleet will depend on a number of factors, including prevailing market conditions, time charter daily rates and the availability and cost of financing at the time of replacement. Our operating agreement requires our board of directors to deduct from operating surplus each quarter estimated maintenance and replacement capital expenditures, as opposed to actual maintenance and replacement capital expenditures, in order to reduce disparities in operating surplus caused by fluctuating maintenance and replacement capital expenditures, such as drydocking and vessel replacement. Our board of directors, with the approval of the conflicts committee, may determine that one or more of the assumptions should be revised, which could cause the board of directors to increase the amount of estimated maintenance and replacement capital expenditures. We may elect to finance some or all of our maintenance and replacement capital expenditures through the issuance of additional common units which could be dilutive to existing unitholders.


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Cash Flows
 
The following table summarizes our net cash flows from operating, investing and financing activities for the periods presented:
 Year Ended December 31,
(in thousands)201920182017
Net cash provided by operating activities$152,707  $137,166  $270,430  
Net cash used in investing activities(6,312) (19,632) (70,426) 
Net cash used in financing activities(189,288) (272,211) (8,729) 
Net (decrease)/increase in cash, cash equivalents and restricted cash(39,170) (160,795) 201,762  
Cash, cash equivalents and restricted cash at beginning of year269,092  429,887  228,125  
Cash, cash equivalents and restricted cash at end of year229,922  269,092  429,887  

Net Cash Provided by Operating Activities

Net cash provided by operating activities increased by $15.5 million to $152.7 million for the year ended December 31, 2019, compared to $137.2 million in 2018. This was primarily due to:

a decrease in drydocking expenditure of $15.1 million due to lower cost from scheduled drydocking of the Golar Eskimo and Golar Igloo in the year ended December 31, 2019 compared to the drydocking expenditure of the Golar Freeze and Methane Princess in 2018; and
a $1.1 million increase in dividends received from Hilli LLC in the year ended December 31, 2019 compared to 2018, in respect of our Hilli Common Units.
This was partially offset by a general increase in working capital for the year ended December 31, 2019, compared to 2018.

Net cash provided by operating activities decreased by $133.3 million to $137.2 million for the year ended December 31, 2018, compared to $270.4 million in 2017. This was primarily due to:

a significant decrease in revenue from charterers following the expiration of a number of long-term charters and lower charter hire rates in 2018;
an increase in drydocking expenditure of $4.9 million due to higher cost for the scheduled drydocking of the Golar Freeze and Methane Princess in 2018, compared with the drydocking of the Golar Grand, Golar Mazo and Golar Winter in 2017; and
a general increase in working capital for the year ended December 31, 2018, compared to 2017.

Net Cash Used in Investing Activities
 
Net cash used in investing activities of $6.3 million for the year ended December 31, 2019 was due to:

$10.3 million of cash consideration paid in respect of the remaining net purchase price less working capital adjustments in connection with the Hilli Acquisition; and
$10.2 million of capital expenditures for the Golar Igloo and Golar Freeze.
This was partially offset by $14.2 million of dividends received from Hilli LLC in respect of our Hilli Common Units.

Net cash used in investing activities of $19.6 million for the year ended December 31, 2018 was due to:

$10.7 million of payments for vessel modifications for the Golar Freeze and Golar Igloo, and BWTS installation for the Methane Princess; and

$9.7 million of cash consideration paid in connection with the Hilli Acquisition, which closed in July 2018.

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Net cash used in investing activities of $70.4 million for the year ended December 31, 2017 was due to the payment of a $70.0 million deposit in connection with the Hilli Acquisition in August 2017.

Net Cash Used in Financing Activities
 
Net cash used in financing activities is principally generated from funds from equity and debt offerings, and new debt and lease financings, offset by cash distributions, unit repurchase payments, and debt and lease repayments.

Net cash used in financing activities during the year ended December 31, 2019 of $189.3 million was primarily due to the following:

payment of $126.6 million in cash distributions;

$101.7 million of scheduled repayment of our debt, including the short term loan from Golar; and

$1.6 million payment in connection with our common unit repurchase program.

This was partially offset by a $25.0 million borrowing under our revolving credit facility and $15.0 million from Golar.

Net cash used in financing activities during the year ended December 31, 2018 of $272.2 million was primarily due to the following:

repayment of debt and lease obligations of $157.2 million;

payment of cash distributions during the year of $165.3 million;

payment of $14.0 million in connection with our common unit repurchase program; and

payment of $1.7 million of financing costs related to the refinancing of the NR Satu Facility.

This was partially offset by total proceeds of $65.3 million from our common unit at-the-market offering program (the “Common Unit ATM Program”) and debt financings, comprising mainly of (i) $50.0 million drawdown of our long-term revolving credit facilities and (ii) net proceeds of $13.9 million raised from our Common Unit ATM Program.

Net cash used in financing activities during the year ended December 31, 2017 of $8.7 million was primarily due to the following:

repayment of debt and lease obligations of $463.8 million. Of this amount, $234.2 million related to the redemption of our High-Yield Bonds and termination of the related cross currency interest rate swap;

payment of cash distributions during the year of $168.1 million (of which $7.0 million was distributions to non-controlling interests); and

financing and debt settlement costs of $5.4 million mainly in connection with issuance of the 2017 Norwegian Bonds.

This was partially offset by the receipt of aggregate proceeds of $630.0 million from our equity offerings and debt financings, comprising (i) net proceeds of $122.0 million from our public offering of common units in February 2017 and our Common Unit ATM Program; (ii) net proceeds of $133.0 million raised from our public offering of Series A Preferred Units; (iii) $250.0 million from the issuance of our 2017 Norwegian Bonds; and (iv) $125.0 million drawdown of our long-term revolving credit facilities.


Borrowing Activities

As of December 31, 2019, we had total outstanding borrowings, gross of deferred financing costs, of $1,222.9 million. Please refer to “Item 5—Operating and Financial Review and Prospects—F. Tabular Disclosure of Contractual Obligations”, note 21 “Debt” and note 22 “Obligation under Financial Lease” to our Consolidated Financial Statements included herein for further detailed information on our borrowings and finance lease respectively as of December 31, 2019.
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Debt and Lease Restrictions
 
Loan Agreements

Our debt agreements contain operating and financial restrictions and other covenants that may restrict our business and financing activities as well as our ability to make cash distributions to our unitholders, including restrictive covenants that generally require the prior written consent of the lenders or otherwise restrict our ability to, among other things: merge or consolidate with any other person; make certain capital expenditures; pay distributions to our unitholders; terminate or materially amend certain of our charters; enter into any other line of business; make any acquisitions; incur additional indebtedness or grant any liens to secure any of our existing or future indebtedness; enter into sale transactions in respect of the vessel securing such credit facility; enter into sale-leaseback transactions in respect of certain of our vessels; and enter into transactions with our affiliates.

Our loan agreements generally prohibit us from paying distributions to our unitholders if we are not in compliance with certain financial covenants or upon the occurrence of an event of default. Please refer to note 21 “Debt” and note 25 “Related Party Transactions—Indemnifications and guarantees” to our Consolidated Financial Statements included herein for further detailed information on the financial covenants and ratios imposed under the agreements governing our credit facilities, leases and guarantees.

In addition, our lenders and lessors may accelerate the maturity of indebtedness under our financing agreements and foreclose upon the collateral securing the indebtedness upon the occurrence of certain events of default, including our failure to comply with any of the covenants contained in our financing agreements. Various debt and lease agreements contain covenants that require compliance with certain financial ratios. Such ratios include equity ratios, working capital ratios and earnings to net debt ratio covenants, debt service coverage ratios, minimum net worth covenants, minimum value clauses and minimum cash and cash equivalent restrictions in respect of our subsidiaries and us. In addition, there are cross default provisions in most of our and Golar’s loan and lease agreements.

As of December 31, 2019, we were in compliance with all covenants under our existing debt and lease agreements and guarantees.

Derivatives
 
We use financial instruments to reduce the risk associated with fluctuations in interest rates and foreign currency exchange rates. We have a portfolio of interest rate swaps that exchange or swap floating rate interest to fixed rates, which from a financial perspective, hedges our obligations to make payments based on floating interest rates. As of December 31, 2019, we had interest rate swaps with a notional outstanding value of $1,557.8 million representing approximately 88% of total debt and finance lease obligations, including our proportionate share of the obligation under the Hilli Facility. Our swap agreements have expiration dates between 2020 and 2026 and have fixed rates of between 1.12% and 2.90%.

We enter into foreign currency forward contracts in order to manage our exposure to the risk of movements in foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations. We are affected by foreign currency fluctuations primarily through our FSRU projects, expenditures in respect of our vessels’ drydocking, some operating expenses including the effect of paying the majority of our seafaring officers in Euros, and some of our administrative costs. The currencies which impact us the most include, but are not limited to, the Euro, Norwegian Kroner, Singapore Dollars, Brazilian Reais, Indonesian Rupiah and, to a lesser extent, Pound Sterling. See "Item 11—Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures about Market Risk" and note 24 “Financial Instruments” to our Consolidated Financial Statements included herein.
 
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Capital Commitments
 
Possible Acquisitions of Other Vessels

We assess potential acquisition opportunities on a regular basis. Pursuant to our omnibus agreements with Golar and Golar Power, we will have the opportunity to purchase additional FSRUs and LNG carriers in the future from Golar and Golar Power when those vessels are fixed under charters of five or more years upon their expiration of their current charters.  Subject to the terms of our loan agreements, we could elect to fund any future acquisitions with equity or debt or cash on hand or a combination of these forms of consideration. Any debt incurred for this purpose could make us more leveraged and subject us to additional operational or financial covenants.

Drydocking and Ballast Water Treatment System

From now through to December 31, 2024, eight of the vessels in our current fleet will undergo their scheduled drydockings. We estimate that we will spend in total approximately $65.1 million for drydocking of these vessels, which includes $19.1 million in respect of the Golar Spirit and the Golar Mazo in order to put them back in service from lay-up, with approximately $16.6 million in 2020, $10.0 million in 2021, $5.0 million in 2022, $23.5 million in 2023 and $10.0 million expected to be incurred in 2024. We are required to install BWTS on all our LNG carriers on their first drydocking after 2017. The additional costs of complying with these rules, relating to all our vessels are estimated to be in the range of $1.8 million and $2.1 million per vessel and will be phased in over time in connection with the renewal surveys that are required. See "Item 4 — Information on the Partnership — B. Business Overview—Ballast Water Management Convention, Clean Water Act and National Invasive Species Act".

We reserve a portion of cash generated from our operations to meet the costs of future drydockings and BWTS installation. As our fleet matures and expands, our drydocking expenses will likely increase. Ongoing costs for compliance with environmental regulations are primarily included as part of our drydocking and society classification survey costs or are a component of our operating expenses. 

Critical Accounting Policies
 
The preparation of our Consolidated Financial Statements in accordance with U.S. GAAP requires that management make estimates and assumptions affecting the reported amounts of assets and liabilities and disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities at the date of the financial statements and the reported amounts of revenues and expenses during the reporting period. The following is a discussion of the accounting policies applied by us that are considered to involve a higher degree of judgment in their application. Please read note 2 “Significant Accounting Policies” to our Consolidated Financial Statements for additional information.

Revenue Recognition
 
Our revenues include minimum lease payments under time charters, fees for repositioning vessels as well as the reimbursement of certain vessel operating costs such as drydocking costs and taxes. We record revenues generated from time charters, which we classify as operating leases, over the term of the charter as service is provided.
 
We recognize the reimbursement for drydocking costs evenly over the period to the next drydocking, which is generally five years. We recognize repositioning fees (which are included in time charter revenue) received in respect of time charters at the end of the charter when the fee becomes fixed and determinable. However, where there is a fixed amount specified in the charter, which is not dependent upon redelivery location, we will recognize the fee evenly over the term of the charter. Where a vessel undertakes multiple single voyage time charters, revenue is recognized, including the repositioning fee if fixed and determinable, on a discharge-to-discharge basis. Under this basis, revenue is recognized evenly over the period from departure of the vessel from its last discharge port to departure from the next discharge port.

Vessels and Impairment

Description: We review vessels and equipment for impairment whenever events or circumstances indicate the carrying value of the vessel may not be fully recoverable. Management performs an annual impairment assessment and when such events or circumstances are present, we assess recoverability by comparing the vessel's projected undiscounted net cash flows to its carrying value. If the total projected undiscounted net cash flows is lower than the vessel’s carrying value, an impairment loss shall be measured as the amount by which the carrying amount of a long-lived asset (asset group) exceeds its fair value. As of December 31, 2019, the carrying values of seven of our vessels were higher than their estimated market
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values (based on third party ship broker valuations). As a result, we concluded that an impairment trigger existed and so performed a recoverability assessment for each of these vessels. However, no impairment loss was recognized for these vessels, as the projected undiscounted net cash flows were significantly higher than each vessel's carrying value. Refer to note 13 “Vessels and Equipment, Net” and note 14 "Vessel Under Finance Lease" in our Consolidated Financial Statements.

Judgments and estimates: The cash flows on which our assessment of recoverability are based is highly dependent upon our forecasts, which are highly subjective and, although we believe the underlying assumptions supporting this assessment are reasonable and appropriate at the time they were made, it is therefore reasonably possible that a further decline in the economic environment could adversely impact our business prospects in the next year. This could represent a triggering event for a further impairment assessment.

Accordingly, the principal assumptions we have used in our recoverability assessment (i.e. projected undiscounted net cash flows basis) included, among others, charter rates, ship operating expenses, drydocking requirements and residual value. These assumptions are based on historical trends and adjusted for future expectations. Specifically, forecasted charter rates are based on information regarding current spot market charter rates (based on a third party information), option renewal rate with the existing counterparty or existing long-term charter rates, in addition to industry analyst and broker reports. Estimated outflows for operating expenses and drydockings are based on historical costs.

Effect if actual results differ from assumptions: Although we believe the underlying assumptions supporting the impairment assessment are reasonable, if charter rate trends and the length of the current market downturn vary significantly from our forecasts, management may be required to perform step two of the impairment analysis that could expose us to material impairment charges in the future. Our estimates of vessel market values may not be indicative of the current or future market value of our vessels or prices that we could achieve if we were to sell them and a material loss might be recognized upon the sale of our vessels.

Vessel market values

Description: Under "Vessels and impairment", we discuss our policy for assessing impairment of the carrying values of our vessels. During the past few years, the market values of certain vessels in the worldwide fleet have experienced particular volatility, with substantial declines in many vessel classes. There is a future risk that the market value of certain of our vessels could decline below those vessels' carrying value, even though we would not recognize an impairment for those vessels' due to our belief that projected undiscounted net cash flows expected to be earned by such vessels over their operating lives would exceed such vessels' carrying amounts.

Judgments and estimates: Our estimates of market value assume that our vessels are all in good and seaworthy condition without need for repair and, if inspected, would be certified in class without notations of any kind. Our estimates for our LNG carriers and FSRUs are based on approximate vessel market values that have been received from third party ship brokers, which are commonly used and accepted by our lenders for determining compliance with the relevant covenants in our credit facilities. Vessel values can be highly volatile, such that our estimates may not be indicative of the current or future market value of our vessels or prices that we could achieve if we were to sell. In addition, the determination of estimated market values may involve considerable judgment given the illiquidity of the secondhand market for these types of vessels.

Effect if actual results differ from assumptions: As of December 31, 2019, while we intend to hold and operate our vessels, were we to hold them for sale, we have determined the fair market value of our vessels, with the exception of seven vessels, were greater than their carrying value. With respect to these seven vessels, the carrying value of these vessels exceeded their aggregate market value. However, as discussed above, for each of these vessels, the carrying value was less than its projected undiscounted net cash flows, consequently, no impairment loss was recognized. See note 13 “Vessels and equipment, net” to our Consolidated Financial Statements for additional information.


Acquisition of Hilli LLC Common Units

Description: On July 12, 2018, we completed the acquisition of 50% of the Hilli Common Units. As we are deemed to have significant influence, we equity accounted for our investment. Hilli LLC is an entity where the economic results are allocated based on a contractual agreement rather than relative ownership percentages. This is due to the different classes of equity within Hilli LLC (Common Units, Series A Special Units and Series B Special Units).


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Judgments and estimates: As the Hilli LLC Agreement is a substantive contractual arrangement that specifies the allocation of cash proceeds, management has performed the notional fair value exercise to allocate the cost of our investment to the acquired assets and liabilities based on the Hilli LLC Agreement. This exercise determined that the fair value adjustment primarily related to the vessel and the LTA. Our share of the fair value adjustment relating to the Hilli LLC Common Units is required to be amortized through the statement of operations as part of the equity accounting. In addition we have calculated our “Equity in net earnings of affiliates” based on the same assumptions.

Certain assumptions were made on the allocation of non-cash components, specifically, the unrealized mark-to-market movement in the oil derivative asset associated to the fair value of the Brent Crude price is allocated to the Series A Special unitholders only, as they are the only unitholders who benefit from the oil linked tolling fee billings. The accounting of the cost of the Hilli follows the allocation of cash tolling fee revenues associated with the capacity of the Hilli to the Hilli common unitholders and the Series B Special unitholders.

Effect if actual results differ from assumptions: If our allocation of the non-cash items were incorrect this could result in a material adjustment to the amount allocated to the “Investment in affiliate” on the disposal date. In addition, on a prospective basis, the allocation of “Net income” to the “Equity in net earnings of affiliate” could be materially different.

Recently Issued Accounting Standards

See note 3 “Recently Issued Accounting Standards” to our Consolidated Financial Statements.
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C.           Research and Development
 
Not applicable.
 
D.           Trend Information
 
Please see “Item 3.D—Risk Factors”, “Item 4—B. Business Overview” and “Item 5—Operating and Financial Review and Prospects—Factors Affecting our Results of Operation and Future Results.”

After the balance sheet date, we have seen significant macroeconomic uncertainty as a result of the global COVID-19 outbreak. The scale and duration of this development remains uncertain and could materially impact our earnings and cash flow for the 2020 fiscal year.
 
E.             Off-Balance Sheet Arrangements
 
At December 31, 2019, we do not have any off-balance sheet arrangements.

F.             Tabular Disclosure of Contractual Obligations
 
Contractual Obligations
 
The following table sets forth our contractual obligations for the periods indicated as of December 31, 2019:
 
 
Total
Obligation
Due in
 2020
Due in
2021 — 2022
Due in
2023—2024
Due
Thereafter
(in millions)
Long-term debt (1)
$1,222.9  $228.2  $851.0  $25.6  $118.1  
Interest commitments on long-term debt - floating and other interest rate swaps (2)
134.3  62.3  46.9  18.5  6.6  
Finance lease obligations, net (2)(3)
122.8  2.0  5.4  7.3  108.1  
Total$1,480.0  $292.5  $903.3  $51.4  $232.8  

(1)Amounts shown gross of deferred financing costs of $6.0 million.
(2)Our interest commitment on our long-term debt is calculated based on assumed USD LIBOR rates of between 1.55% and 2.10% respectively, taking into account our various margin rates and interest rate swaps associated with our debt. Our interest commitment on our finance lease obligations is calculated on an assumed average Pound Sterling LIBOR of 5.2%.
(3)In the event of any adverse tax rate changes or rulings our lease obligation with regard to the Methane Princess could increase significantly (please refer to note 26 "Other Commitments and Contingencies" to our Consolidated Financial Statements included herein). However, Golar has agreed to indemnify us against any such increase.

G.           Safe Harbor
 
See “Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Statements.”


Item 6.                                  Directors, Senior Management and Employees
 
A.           Directors and Senior Management
 
Directors
 
The following provides information about each of our directors as of April 16, 2020. The business address for these individuals is 2nd Floor, S.E. Pearman Building, 9 Par-la-Ville Road, Hamilton HM 11, Bermuda.
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NameAgePosition
Tor Olav Trøim57Chairman
Paul Leand Jr.53Class III Director and Conflicts Committee Member
Lori Wheeler Naess49Director and Audit Committee Chairperson
Carl Steen69Class II Director and Audit Committee Member
Alf Thorkildsen63Class I Director, Conflicts and Audit Committee Member
Georgina Sousa69Director and Company Secretary
Jeremy Kramer58Class III Director and Conflicts Committee Member
 
Tor Olav Trøim has served as our Director and Chairman of our Board of Directors since January 2009. He has served as a director of Golar since September 2011 and the Chairman of the Board of Golar since September 2017. Mr. Trøim previously served as a director and vice-president of Golar from its incorporation in May 2001 until October 2009, after which time he served as a director and Chairman of Golar's listed subsidiary, Golar LNG Energy Limited. Mr. Trøim was Vice President and a director of Seadrill Limited (“Seadrill”) between 2005 and 2014. Additionally between 1995 and 2014 he also served, at various times, as a director of a number of related public companies including Frontline Limited, Golden Ocean Group Limited, Archer Limited as well as Seatankers Management Limited. Prior to 1995 he served as an Equity Portfolio Manager with Storebrand ASA and Chief Executive Officer for the Norwegian Oil Company DNO AS. Mr. Trøim graduated as M.Sc Naval Architect from the University of Trondheim, Norway in 1985. He currently holds controlling interests in Magni Partners Bermuda and Magni Partners UK. He also serves as a director in Stolt Nielsen Limited, Borr Drilling and Valerenga Football Club.

Paul Leand Jr. has served on our Board of Directors since March 2011 and is a member of our Conflicts Committee. He has been a Director of NYSE-listed Ship Finance International Limited since 2003. Mr. Leand joined AMA Capital Partners LLC (“AMA”), an investment bank specializing in the maritime industry, in 1998 from First National Bank of Maryland. He was appointed CEO in 2004. From 1989 to 1998 Mr Leand served at the First National Bank of Maryland where he managed its Railroad Division and its International Maritime Division. He has worked extensively in the U.S. capital markets in connection with AMA’s restructuring and mergers and acquisitions practice. Mr Leand serves as a member of American Marine Credit LLC's Credit Committee and served as a member of the Investment Committee of AMA Shipping Fund l, a private equity fund formed and managed by AMA. Mr Leand holds a BS/BA from Boston University’s School of Management and is a director of publicly listed SEA CO LTD and privately held Helm Financial Corporation and GE SEACO SRL.

Lori Wheeler Naess was appointed as a Director and Audit Committee Chairperson in February 2016. Ms. Naess also serves on the Board and Audit Committee of Golar, Opera Limited (a US-listed company) and Klaveness Combination Carriers ASA (a publicly-listed shipping company in Norway). Prior to her appointment as Director, Ms. Naess was most recently a Director at PwC in Oslo and was a Project Leader for the Capital Markets Group. Between 2010 and 2012 she was a Senior Advisor for the Financial Supervisory Authority in Norway and prior to 2010 she was also with PwC in roles in the U.S., Norway and Germany. Ms. Naess is a U.S. Certified Public Accountant (inactive).

Carl Steen has served on our Board of Directors since his appointment in August 2012 and serves on our Audit Committee. Mr. Steen has served on the Board of Directors of Golar since February 2015. Mr. Steen graduated in 1975 from ETH Zurich Switzerland with a M.Sc. in Industrial and Management Engineering. After working for a number of high profile companies, Mr. Steen joined Nordea Bank from January 2001 to February 2011 as head of the bank’s Shipping, Oil Services & International Division. Mr. Steen holds directorship positions in various Norwegian and international companies including Euronav NV, Wilh Wilhelmsen Holding ASA and Belships ASA.

Alf Thorkildsen was appointed to our Board of Directors in February 2015 and serves on our Conflicts Committee and Audit Committee. Mr. Thorkildsen is currently a senior partner with Hitecvision, which he joined in 2013 from the position as CEO of Seadrill. During his tenure, Seadrill grew to become the world’s largest driller by market capitalization and enterprise value. Mr. Thorkildsen joined Seadrill in 2006 as CFO. Prior to this, he was the CFO of Smedvig ASA, a leading Norwegian drilling company, which was acquired by Seadrill in 2006. Mr. Thorkildsen started his career in 1980 in Larsen and Hagen Shipping and worked thereafter for 20 years in Shell in numerous senior positions.

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Georgina Sousa has served as a director, Company Secretary and Resident Representative since October 2019. She is currently a director and Company Secretary of Golar, having served in those capacities since September 2019 and May 2019, respectively. Ms. Sousa also currently serves as a director of 2020 Bulkers Ltd. and Borr Drilling Ltd. Ms. Sousa was employed by Frontline Ltd. as Head of Corporate Administration from February 2007 until December 2018. She previously served as a director of Frontline from April 2013 until December 2018, Ship Finance International Limited from May 2015 until September 2016, North Atlantic Drilling Ltd. from September 2013 until June 2018, Sevan Drilling Limited from August 2016 until June 2018, Northern Drilling Ltd. from March 2017 until December 2018 and FLEX LNG LTD. from June 2017 until December 2018. Ms. Sousa also served as a Director of Seadrill Limited from November 2015 until July 2018, Knightsbridge Shipping Limited (the predecessor of Golden Ocean Group Limited) from 2005 until 2015 and Golar LNG Limited from 2013 until 2015. Ms. Sousa has extensive experience in corporate secretarial practice having previously held various company secretary positions, amongst other shipping companies, the above mentioned companies at various times.


Jeremy Kramer was appointed to our Board of Directors in September 2016 and serves on our Conflicts Committee. He is also on the Board of Directors of DHT Holdings where he serves as Chairman of the Audit Committee. In addition, Mr Kramer is on the Board of Directors of 2020 Bulkers Ltd. Mr. Kramer was a Senior Portfolio Manager in the Straus Group at Neuberger Berman from 1998 to 2016, managing equity portfolios primarily for high net worth clients.  Prior to that, he worked at Alliance Capital from 1994 to 1998, first as a Securities Analyst and then as a Portfolio Manager focused on small and mid-cap equity securities. Mr. Kramer also managed a closed-end fund, the Alliance Global Environment Fund. He worked at Neuberger Berman from 1988 to 1994 as a Securities Analyst. Mr. Kramer earned an MBA from Harvard University Graduate School of Business in 1988.  He graduated with a BA from Connecticut College in 1983.


Executive Officers
 
We currently do not have any executive officers and rely on the executive officers and directors of Golar Management and Golar Management Norway who perform executive officer services for our benefit pursuant to the management and administrative services agreement and who are responsible for our day-to-day management subject to the direction of our board of directors. Golar Management also provides certain commercial and technical management services to our fleet. The following provides information about each of the executive officers of Golar Management who perform executive officer services for us and who are not also members of our board of directors as of April 16, 2020. The business address for our executive officers is 2nd Floor, S.E. Pearman Building, 9 Par-la-Ville Road, Hamilton HM 11, Bermuda.
 
NameAgePosition
Graham Robjohns55Chief Executive Officer
Øistein Dahl59Chief Operating Officer
 
Graham Robjohns has acted as our Chief Executive Officer since October 2019. Mr Robjohns is also Chief Financial Officer and Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Golar, a position he has held since March 2018. Previously, between July 2011 and March 2018, Mr. Robjohns served as our Principal Executive Officer and between April 2011 and July 2011 served as our Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer. He has also held various senior positions in Golar Management since May 2001. From June 2012 to August 2015, Mr. Robjohns was also the Chief Executive Officer of Seadrill Partners LLC. He was the Financial Controller of Osprey Maritime (Europe) Ltd from March 2000 to May 2001. He is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.

Øistein Dahl has served as our Chief Operating Officer since 2012. He served as Managing Director of Golar Management Norway since September 2011 and as Chief Operating Officer of Golar Management since April 2012. Prior to September 2011, he worked for the Leif Höegh & Company Group (roll-on roll-off, tank, bulk, reefer general cargo and LNG vessels). He held various positions within the Höegh Group of companies within vessel management, newbuilding and projects, as well as business development before becoming President for Höegh Fleet business in October 2007, a position he held for four years. Mr. Dahl has also worked within offshore engineering and with the Norwegian Class Society, DNV-GL. Mr. Dahl has a MSc degree from the NTNU technical university in Trondheim.


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B.           Compensation
 
Reimbursement of Expenses of Our General Partner
 
Our general partner does not receive compensation from us for any services it provides on our behalf, although it will be entitled to reimbursement for expenses incurred on our behalf.  In addition, we will reimburse Golar Management for expenses incurred pursuant to the Management and Administrative Services Agreement. Please read “Item 7—Major Unitholders and Related Party Transactions—Management and Administrative Services Agreement.”
 
Executive Compensation
 
Under the Management and Administrative Services Agreement, we reimburse Golar Management for its reasonable costs and expenses incurred in connection with the provision of executive officer and other administrative services to us.  In addition, we pay Golar Management a management fee equal to 5% of its costs and expenses incurred on our behalf. During the year ended December 31, 2019, we incurred $9.6 million of expenses in connection with the provision of these services to us.
 
Golar Management compensates Mr. Robjohns and Mr. Dahl in accordance with its own compensation policies and procedures. Officers and employees of affiliates of our general partner may participate in employee benefit plans and arrangements sponsored by Golar, our general partner or their affiliates, including plans that may be established in the future.
 
Compensation of Directors
 
Our officers or officers of Golar who also serve as our directors do not receive additional compensation for their service as directors but may receive director fees in lieu of other compensation paid by Golar. Each non-management director receives compensation for attending meetings of our board of directors, as well as committee meetings. In addition, each director is reimbursed for out-of-pocket expenses in connection with attending meetings of the board of directors or committees. Each director is fully indemnified by us for actions associated with being a director to the extent permitted under Marshall Islands law. During the year ended December 31, 2019, we paid to our directors aggregate cash compensation of approximately $0.6 million. We do not have a retirement plan for our directors or executive officers.

Golar LNG Partners LP Long Term Incentive Plan

The Golar LNG Partners LP Long Term Incentive Plan (the “GMLP LTIP”) was adopted by our board of directors, effective as of May 30, 2016. An expense of $0.2 million has been recognized for the year ended December 31, 2019 relating to the award of 99,000 options to purchase common units to directors and management under the GMLP LTIP. The options have an exercise price of $20.55 per unit and will be reduced by the value of the distributions declared and paid. At December 2019, all options were fully vested. The option period was five years. See note 27 "Unit-Based Compensation" to our Consolidated Financial Statements included herein.
 
C.           Board Practices
 
General
 
Our partnership agreement provides that our board will consist of seven members, three of whom are appointed by our general partner in its sole discretion and four of whom are elected by our common unitholders. Directors appointed by our general partner will serve as directors for terms determined by our general partner. Our current board of directors consists of three members appointed by our general partner, Lori Naess, Tor Olav Trøim and Georgina Sousa.

Directors elected by our common unitholders are divided into three classes serving staggered three-year terms. At our annual meeting on September 27, 2019, Alf Thorkildsen was re-elected as a Class I director of the Partnership whose term will expire at the 2022 annual meeting. Carl Steen serves as a Class II elected director whose term will expire at the 2020 annual meeting. Paul Leand and Jeremy Kramer serve as Class III directors of the Partnership with terms that expire at the 2021 annual meeting.

At each annual meeting, directors are elected to succeed the class of directors whose terms have expired by a plurality of the votes of the common unitholders. Directors elected by our common unitholders will be nominated by the board of directors or by any limited partner or group of limited partners that holds at least 10% of the outstanding common units. Our board has determined that Mr. Kramer, Mr. Leand, Ms. Naess, Mr. Steen and Mr. Thorkildsen satisfy the independence standards established by The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC as applicable to us.
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There are no service contracts between us and any of our directors providing for benefits upon termination of their employment or service.

Each outstanding common unit is entitled to one vote on matters subject to a vote of common unitholders. However, to preserve our ability to be exempt from U.S. federal income tax under Section 883 of the Code, if at any time, any person or group owns beneficially more than 4.9% or more of any class of units then outstanding, any such units owned by that person or group in excess of 4.9% may not be voted (except for purposes of nominating a person for election to our board). The voting rights of any such unitholders in excess of 4.9% will effectively be redistributed pro rata among the other common unitholders holding less than 4.9% of the voting power of such class of units. Our general partner, its affiliates and persons who acquired common units with the prior approval of our board of directors will not be subject to this 4.9% limitation except with respect to voting their common units in the election of the elected directors.

The Series A Preferred Units generally have no voting rights except (i) with respect to amendments to the partnership agreement that would adversely affect the rights of the Series A Preferred Units, (ii) or in the event the Partnership proposes to issue Parity Securities or Senior Securities. However, if and whenever distributions payable on the Series A Preferred Units are in arrears for six or more quarterly periods, whether or not consecutive, holders of Series A Preferred Units (voting together as a class with all other classes of parity securities upon which like voting rights have been conferred and are exercisable) will be entitled to replace one of the members of our board of directors appointed by our general partner with a person nominated by such holders (unless the holders of Series A Preferred Units, voting together as a class with all other classes of parity securities upon which like voting rights have been conferred and are exercisable, have previously elected a member of our board of directors, and such director continues then to serve on the board of directors).

Committees

We have an audit committee that, among other things, which is responsible for overseeing the quality and integrity of our external financial reporting, appointment, compensation and oversight of our external auditors and oversees our management assessment of internal controls and procedures, as more fully set forth in its written charter, which has been adopted by the board. Our audit committee currently is comprised of three independent directors, Lori Naess, Carl Steen, and Alf Thorkildsen. Lori Naess qualifies as an “audit committee financial expert” for purposes of SEC rules and regulations.
 
We also have a conflicts committee currently comprised of three members of our board of directors. The conflicts committee is available at the board’s discretion to review specific matters that the board believes may involve conflicts of interest. The conflicts committee will determine if the resolution of the conflict of interest is fair and reasonable to us. The members of the conflicts committee may not be officers or employees of us or directors, officers or employees of our general partner or its affiliates and must meet the independence standards established by The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC to serve on an audit committee of a board of directors and certain other requirements. Any matters approved by the conflicts committee will be conclusively deemed to be fair and reasonable to us, approved by all of our partners, and not a breach by our directors, our general partner or its affiliates of any duties any of them may owe us or our unitholders. Our conflicts committee is currently comprised of Paul Leand Jr., Alf Thorkildsen and Jeremy Kramer. For exemptions from Nasdaq corporate governance rules see "Item 16G. Corporate Governance.”


D.           Employees
 
Other than our Secretary, we currently do not have any employees and rely on the executive officers, directors and other key employees of Golar Management who perform services for us pursuant to the Management and Administrative Services Agreement. Employees of Golar Management, including those employees acting as our executive officers and employees of Golar Management Norway, GMM and GMC provide services to our subsidiaries pursuant to the fleet management agreements and the Management and Administrative Services Agreement.  As of December 31, 2019, Golar and its subsidiaries employed approximately 494 seagoing employees and contractors who serve on our vessels. Certain subsidiaries of Golar, including Golar Management, Golar Management Norway, GMM and GMC, provide commercial and technical management services, including all necessary crew-related services, to our subsidiaries pursuant to the fleet management agreements.
 
Pursuant to our management agreements, our Manager and certain of its affiliates provide us with all of our employees. Our board of directors has the authority to hire other employees as it deems necessary.
 
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E.             Unit Ownership
 
Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management
 
See “Item 7—Major Unitholders and Related Party Transactions—A. Major Unitholders”.


Item 7.                                  Major Unitholders and Related Party Transactions
 
A.           Major Unitholders
 
The following table sets forth the beneficial ownership of our common units as of April 16, 2020 by each person that we know to beneficially own more than 5% of our outstanding common units and by our directors and executive officers as a group. The number of units beneficially owned by each person is determined under SEC rules and the information is not necessarily indicative of beneficial ownership for any other purpose:
 
 
Common Units
Beneficially Owned
Name of Beneficial OwnerNumberPercent
Golar LNG Limited21,333,586  30.8 %
FMR LLC (1)
6,976,826  10.1 %
Invesco Ltd.(2)
6,371,953  9.2 %
Huber Capital Management LLC (3)
3,619,619  5.2 %
All directors and executive officers as a group (9 persons)  
______________
 * Less than 1%

(1)Based solely on information contained in a Schedule 13G/A filed on January 10, 2020 by FMR LLC.
(2)Based solely on information contained in a Schedule 13G filed on February 12, 2020 by Invesco Ltd.
(3)Based solely on information contained in a Schedule 13G filed on February 14, 2020 by Huber Capital Management LLC. 

B.           Related Party Transactions
 
From time to time we have entered into agreements and have consummated transactions with certain related parties. We may enter into related party transactions from time to time in the future. In connection with our IPO, we established a conflicts committee, comprised entirely of independent directors, which must approve all proposed material related party transactions.
 
IPO Omnibus Agreement

We are subject to an omnibus agreement that we entered into with Golar and certain of its affiliates, our general partner and certain of our subsidiaries in connection with our IPO. On October 5, 2011, we entered into an amendment to the omnibus agreement with the other parties thereto. The following discussion describes certain provisions of the omnibus agreement, as amended.
 
Non-competition
 
Under the omnibus agreement, Golar agreed, and caused its controlled affiliates (other than us, our general partner and our subsidiaries) to agree, not to acquire, own, operate or charter any FSRU or LNG carrier operating under a charter for five or more years. We refer to these vessels, together with any related charters, as “Five-Year Vessels” and to all other FSRUs and LNG carriers, together with any related charters, as “Non-Five-Year Vessels.” The restrictions in this paragraph did not prevent Golar or any of its controlled affiliates (other than us and our subsidiaries) from:
 
(1)acquiring, owning, operating or chartering Non-Five-Year Vessels;
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(2)acquiring one or more Five-Year Vessels if Golar promptly offers to sell the vessel to us for the acquisition price plus any administrative costs (including re-flagging and reasonable legal costs) associated with the transfer to us at the time of the acquisition;
(3)putting a Non-Five-Year Vessel under charter for five or more years if Golar offers to sell the vessel to us for fair market value (x) promptly after the time it becomes a Five-Year Vessel and (y) at each renewal or extension of that charter for five or more years;
(4)acquiring one or more Five-Year Vessels as part of the acquisition of a controlling interest in a business or package of assets and owning, operating or chartering those vessels; provided, however, that:
(a)if less than a majority of the value of the business or assets acquired is attributable to Five-Year Vessels, as determined in good faith by Golar’s board of directors, Golar must offer to sell such vessels to us for their fair market value plus any additional tax or other similar costs that Golar incurs in connection with the acquisition and the transfer of such vessels to us separate from the acquired business; and
(b)if a majority or more of the value of the business or assets acquired is attributable to Five-Year Vessels, as determined in good faith by Golar’s board of directors, Golar must notify us of the proposed acquisition in advance.  Not later than 10 days following receipt of such notice, we will notify Golar if we wish to acquire such vessels in cooperation and simultaneously with Golar acquiring the Non-Five-Year Vessels.  If we do not notify Golar of our intent to pursue the acquisition within 10 days, Golar may proceed with the acquisition and then offer to sell such vessels to us as provided in (a) above;
(5)acquiring a non-controlling interest in any company, business or pool of assets;
(6)acquiring, owning, operating or chartering any Five-Year Vessel if we do not fulfill our obligation to purchase such vessel in accordance with the terms of any existing or future agreement;
(7)acquiring, owning, operating or chartering a Five-Year Vessel subject to the offers to us described in paragraphs (2), (3) and (4) above pending our determination whether to accept such offers and pending the closing of any offers we accept;
(8)providing ship management services relating to any vessel; or
(9)acquiring, owning, operating or chartering a Five-Year Vessel if we have previously advised Golar that we consent to such acquisition, operation or charter.
 
If Golar or any of its controlled affiliates (other than us or our subsidiaries) acquires, owns, operates or charters Five-Year Vessels pursuant to any of the exceptions described above, it may not subsequently expand that portion of its business other than pursuant to those exceptions.
 
In addition, under the omnibus agreement we and our affiliates may not acquire, own, operate or charter Five-Year Vessels only. The restrictions in this paragraph will not:
 
(1)prevent us from owning, operating or chartering any Non-Five-Year Vessel that was previously a Five-Year Vessel while owned by us;
(2)prevent us or any of our subsidiaries from acquiring Non-Five-Year Vessels as part of the acquisition of a controlling interest in a business or package of assets and owning, operating or chartering those vessels; provided, however, that:
(a)if less than a majority of the value of the business or assets acquired is attributable to Non-Five-Year Vessels, as determined in good faith by us, we must offer to sell such vessels to Golar for their fair market value plus any additional tax or other similar costs that we incur in connection with the acquisition and the transfer of such vessels to Golar separate from the acquired business; and
(b)if a majority or more of the value of the business or assets acquired is attributable to Non-Five-Year Vessels, as determined in good faith by us, we must notify Golar of the proposed acquisition in advance. Not later than 10 days following receipt of such notice, Golar must notify us if it wishes to acquire the Non-Five-Year Vessels in cooperation and simultaneously with us acquiring the Five-Year Vessels. If Golar does not notify us of its intent to pursue the acquisition within 10 days, we may proceed with the acquisition and then offer to sell such vessels to Golar as provided in (a) above;
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(3)prevent us or any of our subsidiaries from acquiring, owning, operating or chartering any Non-Five-Year Vessels subject to the offer to Golar described in paragraph (2) above, pending its determination whether to accept such offer and pending the closing of any offer it accepts; or
(4)prevent us or any of our subsidiaries from acquiring, owning, operating or chartering Non-Five-Year Vessels if Golar has previously advised us that it consents to such acquisition, ownership, operation or charter.
 
If we or any of our subsidiaries acquires, owns, operates or charters Non-Five-Year Vessels pursuant to any of the exceptions described above, neither we nor such subsidiary may subsequently expand that portion of our business other than pursuant to those exceptions.
 
Upon a change of control of us or our general partner, the noncompetition provisions of the omnibus agreement will terminate immediately. Upon a change of control of Golar, the noncompetition provisions of the omnibus agreement applicable to Golar will terminate at the time that is the later of the date of the change of control and the date on which all of our outstanding subordinated units have been converted to common units.

Under the omnibus agreement, a change of control occurs upon (i) the sale, lease, exchange or other transfer of all or substantially all assets to another entity, (ii) the consolidation or merger into another entity, and (iii) an entity other than Golar or its affiliates becoming the beneficial owner of more than 50% of all outstanding voting stock.

Rights of First Offer on FSRUs and LNG carriers
 
Under the omnibus agreement, we and our subsidiaries granted to Golar a right of first offer on any proposed sale, transfer or other disposition of any Five-Year Vessels or Non-Five-Year Vessels owned by us. Under the omnibus agreement, Golar and its subsidiaries granted a similar right of first offer to us for any Five-Year Vessels they might own. These rights of first offer do not apply to a (a) sale, transfer or other disposition of vessels between any affiliated subsidiaries, or pursuant to the terms of any current or future charter or other agreement with a charter party or (b) merger with or into, or sale of substantially all of the assets to, an unaffiliated third-party.
 
Prior to engaging in any negotiation regarding any vessel disposition with respect to a Five-Year Vessel with a non-affiliated third-party or any Non-Five-Year Vessel, we or Golar will deliver a written notice to the other relevant party setting forth the material terms and conditions of the proposed transaction. During the 30-day period after the delivery of such notice, we and Golar will negotiate in good faith to reach an agreement on the transaction. If we do not reach an agreement within such 30-day period, we or Golar, as the case may be, will be able within the next 180 calendar days to sell, transfer, dispose or re-charter the vessel to a third party (or to agree in writing to undertake such transaction with a third party) on terms generally no less favorable to us or Golar, as the case may be, than those offered pursuant to the written notice.
 
Upon a change of control of us or our general partner, the right of first offer provisions of the omnibus agreement will terminate immediately. Upon a change of control of Golar, the right of first offer provisions applicable to Golar under the omnibus agreement will terminate at the time that is the later of the date of the change of control and the date on which all of our outstanding subordinated units have converted to common units.
 
Indemnification
 
Under the omnibus agreement, Golar agreed to indemnify us for:
 
certain income tax liabilities attributable to the operation of the assets contributed or sold to us prior to the time they were contributed or sold; and
any liabilities in excess of our scheduled payments under the UK tax lease used to finance the Methane Princess, including liabilities in connection with termination of such lease.
 
Amendments
 
The omnibus agreement may not be amended without the prior approval of the conflicts committee of our board of directors if the proposed amendment will, in the reasonable discretion of our board of directors, adversely affect holders of our common units.
 
Golar Power Omnibus Agreement

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In June 2016, in connection with the formation of Golar Power, we entered into the Golar Power Omnibus Agreement with Golar and Golar Power. Pursuant to the Golar Power Omnibus Agreement, Golar Power agreed not to acquire, own, operate or charter any FSRU or LNG carrier operating under a charter for five or more years, subject to certain exceptions. The non-competition provisions applicable to Golar Power under the Golar Power Omnibus Agreement are similar to those applicable to Golar pursuant to the Omnibus Agreement that we entered into in connection with our initial public offering. In addition, under the Golar Power Omnibus Agreement, the Golar Power Entities granted to us a right of first offer on any proposed sale, transfer or other disposition of any Five-Year Vessels owned or acquired by any Golar Power Entity. 

Upon a change of control of us or our general partner, the Golar Power Omnibus Agreement shall terminate immediately. In the event that one or more Golar LNG Entities (as defined in the Golar Power Omnibus Agreement) cease to own, in the aggregate, at least 33 1/3% of the ownership interests in Golar Power, the Golar Power Omnibus Agreement shall terminate as of the date such ownership interest falls below 33 1/3%.

Our Management Agreements

Management and Administrative Services Agreement
In connection with our IPO, we entered into a management and administrative services agreement with Golar Management, pursuant to which Golar Management agreed to provide certain commercial, management and administrative support services to us such as accounting, auditing, legal, insurance, IT, cash management, clerical, investor relations and other administrative services. In addition, certain officers and directors of Golar Management are to provide executive officer functions for our benefit. These officers of Golar Management are responsible for our day-to-day management, subject to the direction of our board of directors. We and Golar Management entered into an amended and restated management and administrative services agreement to reflect changes in the titles of certain of our officers. The material provisions of the amended and restated management and administrative services agreement, including terms related to our obligations and the obligations of Golar Management to provide us with services, remain unchanged from those contained in the Management and Administrative Services Agreement entered into at the time of our IPO. We have extended this agreement on similar terms for a period of 5 years on April 1, 2016.
 
The Management and Administrative Services Agreement may be terminated prior to the end of its term by us upon 120 days’ notice for any reason in the sole discretion of our board of directors. Golar Management may terminate the Management and Administrative Services Agreement upon 120 days’ notice in the event of certain circumstances, such as a change of control of us or our general partner, an order to wind up the partnership, amongst other events. A change of control under the Management and Administrative Services Agreement means an event in which securities of any class entitling the holders thereof to elect a majority of the members of the board of directors of the entity are acquired, directly or indirectly, by a person or group, who did not immediately before such acquisition, own securities of the entity entitling such person or group to elect such majority.

We reimburse Golar Management for its reasonable costs and expenses incurred in connection with the provision of these services. In addition, we pay Golar Management a management fee equal to 5% of its costs and expenses incurred in connection with providing services to us for the month after Golar Management submits to us an invoice for such costs and expenses, together with any supporting detail that may be reasonably required.
 
Under the Management and Administrative Services Agreement, we agreed to indemnify Golar Management and its employees and agents against all actions which may be brought against them under the Management and Administrative Services Agreement agreement including, without limitation, all actions brought under the environmental laws of any jurisdiction, and against and in respect of all costs and expenses they may suffer or incur due to defending or settling such actions; provided, however that such indemnity excludes any or all losses which may be caused by or due to the fraud, gross negligence or willful misconduct of Golar Management or its employees or agents.

Corporate Services Agreement with Golar Management (Bermuda) Limited (“GMB”). GMB a wholly-owned subsidiary of Golar which owns 100% of Golar Management acts as the registered office in Bermuda and provides corporate secretarial, registrar and administration services to us with effect from January 1, 2017. The corporate services agreement may be terminated prior to the end of its term by either party upon 30 days' notice.

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Fleet management agreements
Each vessel in our fleet is subject to management agreements, pursuant to which certain commercial and technical management services are provided by certain subsidiaries of Golar Management, as described below. Under these fleet management agreements, our subsidiaries pay fees to, and reimburse the costs and expenses of the vessel managers as described below.

Golar Management Limited

The vessel owning subsidiaries (or disponent owners of the vessels) have each entered into separate vessel management agreements directly with Golar Management to manage the vessels in accordance with sound and commercial technical vessel management practice, so far as practicable.

The aggregate management fees under these fleet management agreements for each of the years ended December 31, 2019, 2018, and 2017 was $4.5 million, $5.2 million, and $5.9 million, respectively. The vessel management fees are reviewed annually and revised by mutual agreement of the parties. In addition, pursuant to the vessel management agreements, Golar Management is to be reimbursed an amount equal to the disbursements and expenses in connection with the provision of the services contracted under the management agreement. The vessel management agreement may be terminated prior to the end of its term by us upon 30 days' notice.

Technical Management Sub-agreements with GMN, GMM and GMC, or collectively, the "sub-managers"

In order to assist with the technical management of each of the vessels in our current fleet, Golar Management has entered into Management Agreements with GMN, GMM and GMC as sub-managers, for the operations of our fleet (the Vessels Sub-Management Agreements). The Vessels Sub-Management Agreements provide that: (a) GMN must provide for the technical management of each vessel, which includes, but is not limited to the provision of competent personnel to supervise the maintenance and efficiency of the vessel; arrange and supervise drydockings, repairs, alterations and maintenance of such vessel and arrange and supply the necessary stores, spares and lubricating oils; (b) GMM must provide suitably qualified crew for each vessel; and (c) GMC must provide suitably qualified crew for each vessel and provide for the management of the crew including, but not limited to, arranging for all transportation of the crew, ensuring the crew meets all medical requirements of the flag state, and conducting union negotiations.

Golar Management is responsible for payment of the annual management fees to the sub-managers in respect of the vessels. We are not responsible for paying the management fees to the sub-managers. These fees are subject to upward adjustments based on cost of living indexes in the domiciles of the sub-managers. The sub-managers are entitled to extra remuneration for the performance of tasks outside the scope of the Vessels Sub-Management Agreements.
 
The Vessels Sub-Management Agreements will terminate upon failure by any party to meet its obligations under the agreement, in the case of the sale or total loss of the vessel, or in the event an order or resolution is passed for the winding up, dissolution, liquidation or bankruptcy of any party or if a receiver is appointed. In addition, Golar Management must indemnify the sub-managers and their employees, agents and subcontractors against all actions, proceedings, claims, demands or liabilities arising in connection with the performance of the agreement.

Agency Agreement with PT Pesona Sentra Utama (or PT Pesona). PT Pesona, an Indonesian company established in 2005 and engaged in technical crewing management in Indonesia, owns 51% of the issued share capital in our subsidiary, PTGI, the owner and operator of NR Satu, in order to comply with Indonesian cabotage requirements. Under the agency agreement PT Pesona provides agency and local representation services for us with respect to NR Satu, which includes, but not limited to, accounting, charter administration, legal and liaison services with respect to Indonesian legal and government authorities and clerical services. Under the agency agreement PT Pesona received a fee of $0.5 million, $0.9 million and $0.5 million for the years ended December 31, 2019, 2018, and 2017, respectively. This fee is subject to review annually and revision by mutual agreement of the parties. The PT Pesona agency agreement shall continue indefinitely, unless and until terminated upon notice by either party within 30 days of expected termination. PT Pesona and certain of its subsidiaries also charged vessel management fees to us for the provision of technical and commercial management of the NR Satu amounting to $0.2 million for each of the years ended December 31, 2019, 2018, and 2017.


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Other Related Party Transactions

Vessel Acquisitions and Related Transactions

Tundra Acquisition

In May 2016, we completed the Tundra Acquisition and paid total cash purchase consideration of $107.2 million. In May 2017, we elected to exercise our right (the "Tundra Put Right") under the Tundra Letter Agreement to require Golar to repurchase Tundra Corp at a price equal to the original purchase price. In connection with the exercise of the Tundra Put Right, we and Golar entered into an agreement pursuant to which we agreed to sell Tundra Corp to Golar on the date of the closing of the Tundra Put Sale on October 17, 2017 in return for Golar's promise to pay an amount equal to $107.2 million (the “Deferred Purchase Price”) plus an additional amount equal to 5% per annum of the Deferred Purchase Price (the “Additional Amount”). The Deferred Purchase Price and the Additional Amount were applied to the net purchase price of the Hilli Acquisition on July 12, 2018.

In November 2015, prior to the Tundra Acquisition, Tundra Corp sold the Golar Tundra to Tundra SPV for $254.6 million and subsequently leased back the vessel under a bareboat charter. Following the Tundra Put Sale, Golar is the primary guarantor of the obligations of Tundra Corp (now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Golar) under the Tundra Lease. We, however, are a party to a guarantee pursuant to which we are the deficiency guarantor of Tundra Corp’s obligations under the Tundra Lease. This means that in the event that Tundra Corp is in default of its obligations under the Tundra Lease and Golar, as the primary guarantor, is unable to settle any liabilities due within five business days, Tundra SPV may recover such amounts from us, as the deficiency guarantor. Monthly payments under the Tundra Lease are approximately $2.0 million. Under a separate side agreement, Golar has agreed to indemnify us for any costs incurred in our capacity as the deficiency guarantor.

Hilli Acquisition

On August 15, 2017, we entered into the Hilli Purchase Agreement to acquire from Golar and affiliates of Keppel and B&V 50% of the common units in Hilli LLC, which owns Hilli Corp, the disponent owner of the Hilli. Concurrently with the execution of the Hilli Purchase Agreement, we paid a $70 million deposit to Golar, upon which we received interest at a rate of 5% per annum. We applied the deposit and interest accrued to the net purchase price on July 12, 2018, upon completion of the Hilli Acquisition.

(i) Partnership guarantee

Hilli Corp is a party to a Memorandum of Agreement, dated September 9, 2015, with Fortune Lianjiang Shipping S.A., a subsidiary of China State Shipbuilding Corporation (“Fortune”), pursuant to which Hilli Corp has sold to and leased back from Fortune the Hilli under a 10-year bareboat charter agreement (the “Hilli Facility”). The Hilli Facility provided for post-construction financing for the Hilli in the amount of $960 million. Under the Hilli Facility, Hilli Corp will pay to Fortune forty consecutive equal quarterly repayments of 1.375% of the construction cost, plus interest based on LIBOR plus a margin of 3.95%. In connection with the closing of the Hilli Acquisition, we agreed to provide a several guarantee (the “Partnership Guarantee”) of 50% of the outstanding principal, interest, expenses and other amounts payable by Hilli Corp under the Hilli Facility pursuant to a Deed of Amendment, Restatement and Accession relating to a guarantee between Golar, Fortune and us dated July 12, 2018. We entered into a $480.0 million interest rate swap in relation to our proportionate share of the obligation under the Hilli Facility.

(ii) Letter of credit

On November 28, 2018, we entered into an agreement to guarantee (the "LOC Guarantee") the letter of credit issued by a financial institution in the event of Hilli Corp’s underperformance or non-performance under the LTA. Under the LOC Guarantee, we are severally liable for any outstanding amounts that are payable, based on the percentage ownership that Golar holds in us, multiplied by our percentage ownership in Hilli Common Units. Accordingly, the maximum amount we are liable for under the LOC guarantee is approximately $20.0 million.

Pursuant to the Partnership Guarantee and the LOC Guarantee, we are required to comply with certain covenants and ratios, refer to note 25 "Related Party Transaction - Indemnifications and guarantees - Hilli guarantees".

(iii) Operating expense reimbursement

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Pursuant to the Hilli Purchase Agreement, we agreed to reimburse Golar, Keppel and B&V for (a) 50% of the amount, if any, by which Operating Expenses (as defined below) are less than $32.4 million per year and (b) 50% of the amount, if any, by which withholding taxes on Operating Expense payments are less than $4.2 million per year, for a period of eight years commencing on July 12, 2018, up to a maximum amount of $20 million in the aggregate. Golar, Keppel and B&V have agreed, for a period of eight years commencing on July 12, 2018 of the Hilli Acquisition, to reimburse us for (a) 50% of the amount, if any, by which Operating Expenses are greater than $39.5 million per year and (b) 50% of the amount, if any, by which withholding taxes on Operating Expense payments are greater than $5.2 million per year, up to a maximum amount of $20 million in the aggregate. “Operating Expenses” means, all expenditures made by Hilli LLC and its subsidiaries, including vessel operating expenses, taxes, maintenance expenses and employee compensation and benefits, and capital expenditures, but exclude withholding taxes thereon. Included within the Hilli LLC declared distributions for the years ended December 31, 2019 is $2.2 million of reimbursements from Golar, Keppel and B&V for Operating Expenses. 

Trading and Other Balances
 
Receivables and payables with Golar and its affiliates primarily comprise of unpaid fees and expenses for management and administrative services and vessel management services performed by Golar and its affiliates, dividends due in respect of the Hilli Common Units, and other related party arrangements. In addition, certain receivables and payables arise when we pay an invoice on behalf of a related party and vice versa. Receivables and payables are generally settled quarterly in arrears. Trading balances due to Golar and its subsidiaries are unsecured, interest-free and intended to be settled in the ordinary course of business. In November 2019, we borrowed $15.0 million from Golar, with the loan bearing interest at a rate of LIBOR plus 5.0%. We repaid the loan in full, including interest of $0.1 million, on December 30, 2019. In February 2020, we borrowed $25.0 million from Golar, with interest of LIBOR plus 5.0%. We repaid the loan in full, including interest.

Methane Princess Lease Security Deposit Movements

This represents net advances to Golar since the IPO, which correspond with the net release of funds from the security deposits held relating to the Methane Princess lease. This is in connection with the Methane Princess tax lease indemnity provided by Golar under the Omnibus Agreement. Accordingly, these amounts held with Golar will be settled as part of the eventual termination of the Methane Princess lease. As of December 31, 2019 and 2018 such net advances amounted to $2.3 million and $2.9 million, respectively.
 
Dividends to China Petroleum Corporation
 
During the years ended December 31, 2019, 2018 and 2017, Faraway Maritime Shipping Co. (owns and operates the Golar Mazo), which is 60% owned by us and 40% owned by CPC, paid total dividends to CPC of $nil, $nil, and $7.0 million, respectively. The decrease in dividends distributed was mainly due to the reduction in net income from the Golar Mazo following the expiration of her charter in December 2017.

Dividends to/(from) Golar

We have declared and paid quarterly distributions totaling $36.8 million, $42.8 million and $52.3 million to Golar for each of the years ended December 31, 2019, 2018 and 2017, respectively in respect of the Common Units and General Partner units owned by it.

During the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2018, Hilli LLC declared quarterly distributions totaling $17.5 million and $5.6 million, in respect of the Hilli Common Units owned by us. As of December 31, 2019 and 2018, we have a dividend receivable of $4.5 million and $3.6 million, respectively.

Please refer to note 25 “Related Party Transactions” to our Consolidated Financial Statements included herein for additional information.

C.           Interests of Experts and Counsel
 
Not applicable.
 

Item 8.                                  Financial Information
 
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A.           Consolidated Statements and Other Financial Information
 
Please see “Item 18. Financial Statements” below for additional information required to be disclosed under this item.
 
Legal Proceedings
 
From time to time we have been, and expect to continue to be, subject to legal proceedings and claims in the ordinary course of our business, principally personal injury and property casualty claims. These claims, even if lacking merit, could result in the expenditure of significant financial and managerial resources. 

Indonesia

In November and December 2015, the Indonesian tax authorities issued letters to PTGI to, among other things, revoke a previously granted VAT importation waiver in the approximate amount of $24.0 million for the NR Satu. In February 2018, PTGI filed a Judicial Review with the Supreme Court of Indonesia, but in December 2018, the Supreme Court of Indonesia ruled against PTGI with regards the validity of wavier cancellation. However, we do not believe it probable that a liability exists as a result of this ruling, as no Tax Underpayment Assessment Notice has been received within the statute of limitations period. Should we receive such notice from the tax authorities, we intend to challenge the legality of the assessment. In any event, we believe PTGI will be indemnified by PTNR for any VAT liability as well as related interest and penalties under our time charter party agreement entered into with them.

In December 2019, the Indonesian tax authorities issued tax assessments for land & buildings tax to our subsidiary, PTGI for the years 2015 to 2019 inclusive in relation to the NR Satu, for the amount of $3.5 million. We have subsequently paid the tax assessed to the tax authorities during January 2020 to avoid further penalties. However, we intend to appeal against the assessments for the land & buildings tax and we believe we have reasonable grounds for success, on the basis of no precedent set from past case law and new legislation effective prospectively from January 1, 2020, that now specifically lists FSRUs as being an object liable to land & buildings tax, when it previously did not.

United Kingdom

The UK tax authorities, Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (the “HMRC”), has been challenging us regarding the use of UK lease structure relating to the Methane Princess. We have reviewed the details of the case and the basis of the judgment with our legal and tax advisers to ascertain what impact, if any, the judgment may have on us and the possible range of exposure has been estimated at approximately $nil to $32.0 million (£24.0 million). Golar's discussions with HMRC on this matter have concluded without agreement and, in January 2020, Golar received a closure notice to the inquiry, which states the basis of HMRC’s position. In December 2019, in conjunction with the lessor, Golar obtained supplementary legal advice confirming Golar's position, and consequently a notice of appeal against the closure notice was submitted to HMRC. We remain confident of our position, however given the complexity of these discussions it is impossible to quantify the reasonably possible loss, and we continue to estimate the possible range of exposures as set out above. However, under the indemnity provisions of the Omnibus Agreement, Golar has agreed to indemnify us against any liabilities incurred as a consequence of a successful challenge by the UK Revenue Authorities with regard to the initial tax basis of the Methane Princess lease and in relation to other vessels previously financed by UK tax leases.

For further details, please refer to note 26 “Other Commitments and Contingencies” to our Consolidated Financial Statements included herein.
Our Cash Distribution Policy
 
Rationale for Our Cash Distribution Policy
 
Our cash distribution policy reflects a judgment that our unitholders will be better served by our distribution of our cash available (after deducting expenses, including estimated maintenance and replacement capital expenditures and reserves) rather than retaining it. Because we believe we will generally finance any expansion capital expenditures from external financing sources, we believe that our investors are best served by our distribution of all of our available cash. Our cash distribution policy is consistent with the terms of our partnership agreement, which requires that we distribute all of our available cash quarterly (after deducting expenses, including estimated maintenance and replacement capital expenditures and reserves).
 
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Limitations on Cash Distributions and Our Ability to Change Our Cash Distribution Policy
 
There is no guarantee that unitholders will receive quarterly distributions from us. Our distribution policy is subject to certain restrictions and may be changed at any time, including:
 
Our unitholders have no contractual or other legal right to receive distributions other than the obligation under our partnership agreement to distribute available cash on a quarterly basis, which is subject to the broad discretion of our board of directors to establish reserves and other limitations.
We will be subject to restrictions on distributions under our financing arrangements. Our financing arrangements contain material financial tests and covenants that must be satisfied in order to pay distributions. If we are unable to satisfy the restrictions included in any of our financing arrangements or are otherwise in default under any of those agreements, it could have a material adverse effect on our ability to make cash distributions to our unitholders, notwithstanding our stated cash distribution policy.
We are required to make substantial capital expenditures to maintain and replace our fleet. These expenditures may fluctuate significantly over time, particularly as our vessels near the end of their useful lives. In order to minimize these fluctuations, our partnership agreement requires us to deduct estimated, as opposed to actual, maintenance and replacement capital expenditures from the amount of cash that we would otherwise have available for distribution to our unitholders. In years when estimated maintenance and replacement capital expenditures are higher than actual maintenance and replacement capital expenditures, the amount of cash available for distribution to unitholders will be lower than if actual maintenance and replacement capital expenditures were deducted.
Although our partnership agreement requires us to distribute all of our available cash, our partnership agreement, including provisions contained therein requiring us to make cash distributions, may be amended. Our partnership agreement can be amended with the approval of a majority of the outstanding common units. As of April 16, 2020, Golar held 30.8% of our common units, 2% general partner interest in us and all of our incentive distribution rights .
Even if our cash distribution policy is not modified or revoked, the amount of distributions we pay under our cash distribution policy and the decision to make any distribution is determined by our board of directors, taking into consideration the terms of our partnership agreement.
Under Section 51 of the Marshall Islands Act, we may not make a distribution to unitholders if the distribution would cause our liabilities to exceed the fair value of our assets.
PTGI is subject to restrictions on distributions under Indonesian laws due to its formation under the laws of Indonesia. Under Article 71.3 of the Indonesian Company Law (Law No. 40 of 2007), dividend distributions may be made only if PTGI has positive retained earnings. For the year ended December 31, 2019, PTGI paid $nil of dividends to PT Pesona.
We may lack sufficient cash to pay distributions to our unitholders due to decreases in total operating revenues, decreases in hire rates, the loss of a vessel (including, without limitation, through a customer’s exercise of its purchase option) or increases in operating or general and administrative expenses, principal and interest payments on outstanding debt, taxes, working capital requirements, maintenance and replacement capital expenditures or anticipated cash needs. Please read “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors” for a discussion of these factors.
 
The amount of distributions paid under our policy and the decision to make any distribution is determined by our board of directors, taking into consideration the terms of our partnership agreement. We will be prohibited from making any distributions to unitholders if it would cause an event of default, or an event of default is then existing, under our financing arrangements. Please read note 21 "Debt" and note 25 "Related Party Transactions - Indemnifications and guarantee" in our Consolidated Financial Statements included herein for a discussion of the restrictions contained in our credit facilities, lease arrangements and guarantees that may restrict our ability to make distributions.

For the year ended December 31, 2019, the aggregate amount of cash distributions paid was $114.6 million. In February 2020, we paid a cash distribution of $0.4042 per common and general partner units in respect of the three months ended December 31, 2019. The aggregate amount of the distribution was $28.6 million.
 

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Series A Preferred Units

Series A Preferred Units rank senior to our common units as to the payment of distribution. Distributions on Series A preferred units are payable out of amounts legally available therefor at an initial rate equal to 8.75% per annum of the stated liquidation preference. Distributions are payable quarterly in arrears on the 15th day of February, May, August and November of each year, when, as and if declared by our board of directors.

During the year ended December 31, 2019, the aggregate amount of cash distributions paid was $12.0 million. In February 2020, we paid a cash distribution $0.546875 per Series A Preferred Unit for the period from November 15, 2019 through February 14, 2020. The aggregate amount of the distribution was $3.0 million.

Incentive Distribution Rights
 
Incentive distribution rights represent the right to receive an increasing percentage of quarterly distributions of available cash from operating surplus after the minimum quarterly distribution and the target distribution levels have been achieved. Our general partner and Golar currently hold the incentive distribution rights. The incentive distribution rights may be transferred separately from our general partner interest. Any transfer by our general partner of the incentive distribution rights would not change the percentage allocations of quarterly distributions with respect to such rights.
 
On October 19, 2016 (the “IDR Exchange Closing Date”), pursuant to the terms of an Exchange Agreement (the “Exchange Agreement”), dated as of October 13, 2016, by and between the Partnership, Golar and our general partner, Golar and our general partner exchanged all of their incentive distribution rights in the Partnership (“Old IDRs”) for (i) the issuance by us on the IDR Exchange Closing Date of a new class of incentive distribution rights in the Partnership (“New IDRs”), (ii) an aggregate of 2,994,364 additional common units and an aggregate of 61,109 additional general partner units and (iii) the potential issuance in the future of an aggregate of up to 748,592 additional common units and up to 15,278 additional general partner units (collectively, the “Earn-Out Units”).

As of November 14, 2017 we had paid a distribution of available cash from operating surplus equal to $0.5775 per common unit in respect of each of the quarterly periods ended December 31, 2016, March 31, 2017, June 30, 2017 and September 30, 2017. Accordingly, we issued 50% of the Earn-Out Units—374,295 common units and 7,639 general partner units—to Golar and the general partner, respectively.

On October 24, 2018, we declared a reduced quarterly distribution of $0.4042 per common unit in respect of the quarterly period ended September 30, 2018. Consequently, we did not meet the requirement to pay a distribution of available cash from operating surplus on each of the outstanding common units equal to or greater than $0.5775 per common unit in respect of each of the quarterly periods ended December 31, 2017, March 31, 2018, June 30, 2018 and September 30, 2018. The remaining 50% of the Earn-Out Units were not issued and will not be issued. See note 28 “Equity—Exchange of Incentive Distribution Rights” to our Consolidated Financial Statements included herein.

The following table illustrates the percentage allocations of the additional available cash from operating surplus among the common unitholders, our general partner and the holders of the incentive distribution rights up to the various target distribution levels under the New IDRs. The amounts set forth under “Marginal Percentage Interest in Distributions” are the percentage interests of the common unitholders, our general partner and the holders of the incentive distribution rights in any available cash from operating surplus we distribute up to and including the corresponding amount in the column “Total Quarterly Distribution Target Amount” until available cash from operating surplus we distribute reaches the next target distribution level, if any. The percentage interests shown for the unitholders, our general partner and the holders of the incentive distribution rights for the minimum quarterly distribution are also applicable to quarterly distribution amounts that are less than the minimum quarterly distribution. The percentage interests shown for our general partner include its 2.0% general partner interest only and assume that our general partner has contributed any capital necessary to maintain its 2.0% general partner interest.

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Total Quarterly Distribution Target AmountMarginal Percentage Interest in Distributions
Common UnitholdersGeneral PartnerIDR Holders
Minimum Quarterly Distribution$0.577598%2%0%
First Target DistributionUp to $0.664198%2%0%
Second Target DistributionAbove $0.6641 up to $0.721985%2%13%
Third Target DistributionAbove $0.7219 up to $0.866375%2%23%
ThereafterAbove $0.866350%2%48%

B.           Significant Changes
 
Not applicable.
 

Item 9.                                  The Offer and Listing
 
A.           Markets
 
Our common units started trading on The Nasdaq Global Market under the symbol “GMLP” on April 8, 2011. Our Series A Preferred Units started trading on The Nasdaq Global Market under the symbol “GMLPP” on October 26, 2017.


 Item 10.                           Additional Information
 
A.           Share Capital
 
Not applicable.
 
B.           Memorandum and Articles of Association
 
The information required to be disclosed under Item 10B is incorporated by reference to (i) our Registration Statement on Form 8-A filed with the SEC on October 31, 2017 and (ii) our Registration Statement on Form 8-A/A filed with the SEC on November 13, 2017 (in each case, as may be amended from time to time).
 
C.           Material Contracts
 
The following is a summary of each material contract (other than material contracts entered into in the ordinary course of business), to which we or any of our subsidiaries is a party, for the two years immediately preceding the date of this Annual Report:

1.Omnibus Agreement dated April 13, 2011, by and among Golar LNG Ltd., Golar LNG Partners LP, Golar GP LLC and Golar Energy Limited.  See “Item 7—Major Unitholders and Related Party Transactions—B. Related Party Transactions” for a summary of certain contract terms.
2.Amendment No. 1 to Omnibus Agreement, dated October 5, 2011 by and among Golar LNG Ltd., Golar LNG Partners LP, Golar GP LLC and Golar Energy Limited. See “Item 7—Major Unitholders and Related Party Transactions—B. Related Party Transactions” for a summary of certain contract terms.
3.$175 million Facility Agreement, dated December 14, 2012, by and among a group of banks as the lender and PT Golar Indonesia as the borrower. See note 21 “Debt—NR Satu Facility” to our Consolidated Financial Statements for a summary of certain terms.
4.Supplemental Agreement to $175 million Facility Agreement, dated March 29, 2018, by and PT Bank Sumitomo Mitsui as the lender, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation Singapore Branch as the agent, PT Golar Indonesia as the borrower and guaranteed by Golar LNG Partners LP. See note 21 “Debt—NR Satu Facility” to our Consolidated Financial Statements for a summary of certain terms.
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5.Bond Agreement dated May 20, 2015 between Golar LNG Partners LP and Nordic Trustee ASA as bond trustee. See note 21 “Debt—2015 Norwegian Bonds” to our Consolidated Financial Statements for a summary of certain terms.
6.Bareboat charter, Memorandum of Agreement and Common Terms Agreements, by and among Golar Eskimo Corp, and a subsidiary of China Merchants Bank Limited (Eskimo SPV), dated November 4, 2015, providing for the sale and leaseback of the Golar Eskimo. See note 5 “Variable Interest Entities—Eskimo Corp” to our Consolidated Financial Statements for a summary of certain terms.
7.Bareboat charter, Memorandum of Agreement and Common Terms Agreements, by and among Golar LNG NB13 Corporation, and a subsidiary of China Merchants Bank Limited (Tundra SPV), dated November 19, 2015, providing for the sale and leaseback of the Golar Tundra. See “Item 7—Major Unitholders and Related Party Transactions-B. Related Party Transactions” for information about the Tundra Acquisition.
8.Supplemental Agreement by and among Golar LNG NB13 Corporation, Golar LNG Limited, Golar LNG Partners LP and a subsidiary of China Merchants Bank Limited (Tundra SPV), dated April 28, 2016, as supplement to the Bareboat charter, Memorandum of Agreement and Common Terms Agreements dated November 19, 2015. See “Item 7—Major Unitholders and Related Party Transactions-B. Related Party Transactions” for information about the Tundra Acquisition.
9.Facilities Agreement for an $800 million senior secured amortizing term loan and revolving credit facility, dated April 27, 2016, the First Supplemental Letter to Facilities Agreement, dated April 27, 2016, the Second Supplemental Letter to Facilities Agreement, dated May 22, 2017, the Third Supplemental Letter to Facilities Agreement, dated June 29, 2017, Fourth Supplemental Letter to Facilities Agreement, dated January 16, 2018, Fifth Supplemental Letter to Facilities Agreement, dated 5 November, 2018, and the Sixth Supplemental Letter to Facilities Agreement, dated 5 November, 2018, by and among Golar Partners Operating LLC, Citigroup Global Markets Limited, DNB (UK) Limited, Nordea Bank Norge ASA, as agent and security agent and the other parties thereto. See note 21 “Debt—$800 million credit facility” to our Consolidated Financial Statements for a summary of certain terms.
10.Omnibus Agreement dated June 19, 2016, by and among Golar LNG Ltd., Golar Power Limited, Golar LNG Partners LP, Golar GP LLC and Golar Partners Operating LLC.  See “Item 7—Major Unitholders and Related Party Transactions—B. Related Party Transactions” for a summary of certain contract terms.
11.Management and Administrative Services Agreement between Golar LNG Partners LP and Golar Management Limited, dated April 1, 2016, as amended. See “Item 7—Major Unitholders and Related Party Transactions—B. Related Party Transactions” for a summary of certain contract terms.
12.Bond Agreement dated February 10, 2017 between Golar LNG Partners LP and Nordic Trustee ASA as bond trustee. See See note 21 “Debt—2017 Norwegian Bonds” to our Consolidated Financial Statements for a summary of certain terms.
13.Purchase and Sale Agreement by and among Golar LNG Limited, KS Investments Pte. Ltd., Black & Veatch International Company and Golar Partners Operating LLC, dated August 15, 2017, as amended relating to acquisition of interest in Hilli LLC. See “Item 7—Major Unitholders and Related Party Transactions—B. Related Party Transactions” for a summary of certain contract terms.
14.Deed of Guarantee by Golar LNG Partners LP in favor of Sea 24 Leasing Co. Limited in respect of the obligations of Golar LNG NB13 Corporation, dated as of November 19, 2015. See “Item 7-Major Unitholders and Related Party Transactions-B. Related Party Transactions.”.
15.Indemnity Letter, dated as of October 17, 2017, by and between Golar LNG Partners LP and Golar LNG Limited, pursuant to which Golar LNG Limited agreed to indemnify Golar LNG Partners LP for any liabilities that may arise in connection with its deficiency guarantee of the obligations of Golar Tundra Corp to Golar LNG NB13 Corporation under the sale leaseback arrangement relating to the Golar Tundra. See note 25 “Related Party Transactions” to our Consolidated Financial Statements for a summary of certain terms.
16.Liquefaction Tolling Agreement, dated November 29, 2017, between Societe Nationale de Hydrocarbures, Perenco Cameroon SA, Golar Hilli Corporation and Golar Cameroon SASU. See note 10 “Investment in Affiliate” to our Consolidated Financial Statements for a summary of certain terms.
17.Amended and Restated Limited Liability Company Agreement of Golar Hilli LLC, Golar LNG Limited, by and among Golar LNG Limited, KS Investments Pte. Ltd., Black & Veatch International Company and Golar Partners Operating LLC, dated as of July 12, 2018. See note 10 “Investment in Affiliate” to our Consolidated Financial Statements for a summary of certain terms.
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18.Bareboat charter by and between Golar Hilli Corp. and Fortune Lianjiang Shipping S.A., dated September 9, 2015, providing for the sale and leaseback of the Hilli. See “Item 7-Major Unitholders and Related Party Transactions-B. Related Party Transactions.” for a summary of certain contract terms.
19.Additional Clauses to the Bareboat Charter Party dated September 9, 2015 between Golar Hilli Corp. and Fortune Lianjiang Shipping S.A., as additional clauses to Bareboat charter by and between Golar Hilli Corp. and Fortune Lianjiang Shipping S.A., dated September 9, 2015. See “Item 7-Major Unitholders and Related Party Transactions-B. Related Party Transactions.” for a summary of certain contract terms.
20.Memorandum of Agreement by and between Golar Hilli Corp. and Fortune Lianjiang Shipping S.A., dated September 9, 2015 providing for, among other things, the sale and leaseback of the Hilli.  See “Item 7-Major Unitholders and Related Party Transactions-B. Related Party Transactions.” for a summary of certain contract terms.
21.Common Terms Agreements, by and between Golar Hilli Corp. and Fortune Lianjiang Shipping S.A., dated September 9, 2015. See “Item 7-Major Unitholders and Related Party Transactions-B. Related Party Transactions.” for a summary of certain contract terms.
22.Deed of Amendment, restatement and accession relating to a guarantee between Golar LNG Limited, Golar LNG Partners LP and Fortune Lianjiang Shipping S.A., dated as of July 12, 2018, as an amendment to the guarantee under the Common Terms Agreements, by and between Golar Hilli Corp. and Fortune Lianjiang Shipping S.A., dated September 9, 2015. See “Item 7-Major Unitholders and Related Party Transactions-B. Related Party Transactions.” for a summary of certain contract terms.
23.Guarantee Agreement by and between Golar LNG Partners LP and Standard Chartered Bank, dated as of November 28, 2018. See “Item 7-Major Unitholders and Related Party Transactions-B. Related Party Transactions.” for a summary of certain contract terms.



 D.            Exchange Controls
 
We are not aware of any governmental laws, decrees or regulations, including foreign exchange controls, in the Republic of The Marshall Islands that restrict the export or import of capital, or that affect the remittance of dividends, interest or other payments to non-resident holders of our securities.
 
We are not aware of any limitations on the right of non-resident or foreign owners to hold or vote our securities imposed by the laws of the Republic of The Marshall Islands or our partnership agreement.
 
E. Taxation
Material U.S. Federal Income Tax Considerations
The following is a discussion of the material U.S. federal income tax considerations that may be relevant to unitholders. This discussion is based upon provisions of the Code, Treasury Regulations, and current administrative rulings and court decisions, all as in effect or existence on the date of this Annual Report and all of which are subject to change or differing interpretation, possibly with retroactive effect. Changes in these authorities may cause the tax consequences of unit ownership to vary substantially from the consequences described below. Unless the context otherwise requires, references in this section to “we,” “our” or “us” are references to Golar LNG Partners LP.
The following discussion applies only to beneficial owners of common units or Series A Preferred Units that own the units as “capital assets” within the meaning of Section 1221 of the Code (generally, for investment purposes) and is not intended to be applicable to all categories of investors, such as unitholders subject to special tax rules (e.g., financial institutions, insurance companies, broker-dealers, tax-exempt organizations, retirement plans or individual retirement accounts or former citizens or long-term residents of the United States), persons who hold the units as part of a conversion, constructive sale or other integrated transaction for U.S. federal income tax purposes, or persons that have a functional currency other than the U.S. dollar, each of whom may be subject to tax rules that differ significantly from those summarized below. If a partnership or other entity or arrangement classified as a partnership for U.S. federal income tax purposes holds our common units or Series A Preferred Units, the tax treatment of its partners generally will depend upon the status of the partner and the activities of the partnership. Unitholders who are partners in a partnership holding our common units or Series A Preferred Units should consult a tax advisor regarding the tax consequences to them of the partnership’s ownership of such units.
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No ruling has been or will be requested from the IRS regarding any matter affecting us or our unitholders. The statements made herein may be challenged by the IRS and, if so challenged, may not be sustained upon review in a court.
This discussion does not contain information regarding any U.S. state or local, estate, gift or alternative minimum tax considerations concerning the ownership or disposition of common units or Series A Preferred Units. This discussion does not comment on all aspects of U.S. federal income taxation that may be important to particular unitholders in light of their individual circumstances, and each unitholder is urged to consult its own tax advisor regarding the U.S. federal, state, local and other tax consequences of the ownership or disposition of common units or Series A Preferred Units.
Election to be Treated as a Corporation
We have elected to be treated as a corporation for U.S. federal income tax purposes. Consequently, among other things, U.S. Holders (as defined below) will not be directly subject to U.S. federal income tax on our income, but rather will be subject to U.S. federal income tax on distributions received from us and dispositions of units as described below.
U.S. Federal Income Taxation of U.S. Holders
As used herein, the term “U.S. Holder” means a beneficial owner of our common units or Series A Preferred Units that owns (actually or constructively) less than 10.0% of our equity and that is:
an individual U.S. citizen or resident (as determined for U.S. federal income tax purposes),
a corporation (or other entity that is classified as a corporation for U.S. federal income tax purposes) organized under the laws of the United States or any of its political subdivisions,
an estate the income of which is subject to U.S. federal income taxation regardless of its source, or
a trust if (i) a court within the United States is able to exercise primary supervision over the administration of the trust and one or more U.S. persons have the authority to control all substantial decisions of the trust or (ii) the trust has a valid election in effect to be treated as a U.S. person for U.S. federal income tax purposes.

Distributions
Subject to the discussion below of the rules applicable to PFICs, any distributions to a U.S. Holder made by us with respect to our common units or our Series A Preferred Units generally will constitute dividends to the extent of our current and accumulated earnings and profits, as determined under U.S. federal income tax principles, allocated to our common units or our Series A Preferred Units, as applicable. Distributions in excess of our earnings and profits allocated to our Series A Preferred Units or common units, as applicable, will be treated first as a nontaxable return of capital to the extent of the U.S. Holder’s tax basis in its Series A Preferred Units or common units and, thereafter, as capital gain. U.S. Holders that are corporations generally will not be entitled to claim a dividends received deduction with respect to distributions they receive from us because we are not a U.S. corporation. Dividends received with respect to our common units or Series A Preferred Units generally will be treated as “passive category income” for purposes of computing allowable foreign tax credits for U.S. federal income tax purposes.
Dividends received with respect to our common units or Series A Preferred Units by a U.S. Holder that is an individual, trust or estate (or a U.S. Individual Holder) generally will be treated as “qualified dividend income,” which is currently taxable to such U.S. Individual Holder at preferential capital gain tax rates provided that: (i) our common units or Series A Preferred Units, as applicable, are readily tradable on an established securities market in the United States (such as The Nasdaq Global Market on which our common units and Series A Preferred Units are traded); (ii) we are not a PFIC for the taxable year during which the dividend is paid or the immediately preceding taxable year; (iii) the U.S. Individual Holder has owned the common units or Series A Preferred Units for more than 60 days during the 121-day period beginning 60 days before the date on which such common units or Series A Preferred Units, as applicable become ex-dividend (and has not entered into certain risk limiting transactions with respect to such units); and (iv) the U.S. Individual Holder is not under an obligation to make related payments with respect to positions in substantially similar or related property. There is no assurance that any dividends paid on our common units or Series A Preferred Units will be eligible for these preferential rates in the hands of a U.S. Individual Holder, and any dividends paid on our common units or Series A Preferred Units that are not eligible for these preferential rates will be taxed as ordinary income to a U.S. Individual Holder.
Special rules may apply to any amounts received in respect of our common units or Series A Preferred Units that are treated as “extraordinary dividends.” In general, an extraordinary dividend is a dividend with respect to a common unit that is equal to or in excess of 10.0% of the unitholder’s adjusted tax basis (or fair market value upon the unitholder’s election) in such common unit, and a dividend with respect to a Series A Preferred Unit that is equal to or in excess of 5.0% of the unitholder’s adjusted tax basis (or fair market value upon the unitholder’s election) in such preferred unit. In addition, extraordinary
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dividends include dividends received within a one year period that, in the aggregate, equal or exceed 20.0% of a unitholder’s adjusted tax basis (or fair market value). If we pay an “extraordinary dividend” on our common units or Series A Preferred Units that is treated as “qualified dividend income,” then any loss recognized by a U.S. Individual Holder from the sale or exchange of such units will be treated as long-term capital loss to the extent of the amount of such dividend.
Medicare Tax on Net Investment Income
Certain U.S. Holders, including individuals, estates and trusts, will be subject to an additional 3.8% Medicare tax on, among other things, dividends and capital gains from the sale or other disposition of equity interests. For individuals, the additional Medicare tax applies to the lesser of (i) “net investment income” or (ii) the excess of “modified adjusted gross income” over $200,000 ($250,000 if married and filing jointly or $125,000 if married and filing separately). “Net investment income” generally equals the taxpayer’s gross investment income reduced by deductions that are allocable to such income. Unitholders should consult their tax advisors regarding the implications of the additional Medicare tax resulting from their ownership and disposition of our units.
Sale, Exchange or Other Disposition
Subject to the discussion of PFIC status below, a U.S. Holder generally will recognize capital gain or loss upon a sale, exchange or other disposition of our common units or Series A Preferred Units in an amount equal to the difference between the amount realized by the U.S. Holder from such sale, exchange or other disposition and the U.S. Holder’s adjusted tax basis in such common units or Series A Preferred Units. The U.S. Holder’s initial tax basis in its units generally will be the U.S. Holder’s purchase price for the units and that tax basis will be reduced (but not below zero) by the amount of any distributions on such units that are treated as non-taxable returns of capital, as discussed above under “—Distributions.” Such gain or loss will be treated as long-term capital gain or loss if the U.S. Holder’s holding period is greater than one year at the time of the sale, exchange or other disposition. Certain U.S. Holders (including individuals) may be eligible for preferential rates of U.S. federal income tax in respect of long-term capital gains. A U.S. Holder’s ability to deduct capital losses is subject to limitations. Such capital gain or loss generally will be treated as U.S. source income or loss, as applicable, for U.S. foreign tax credit purposes.
PFIC Status and Significant Tax Consequences
Adverse U.S. federal income tax rules apply to a U.S. Holder that owns an equity interest in a non-U.S. corporation that is classified as a PFIC for U.S. federal income tax purposes. In general, we will be treated as a PFIC with respect to a U.S. Holder if, for any taxable year in which the holder held our units, either:
at least 75.0% of our gross income (including the gross income of our vessel-owning subsidiaries) for such taxable year consists of passive income (e.g., dividends, interest, capital gains from the sale or exchange of investment property, and rents derived other than in the active conduct of a rental business); or
at least 50.0% of the average value of the assets held by us (including the assets of our vessel-owning subsidiaries) during such taxable year produce, or are held for the production of, passive income.

Income earned, or treated as earned (for U.S. federal income tax purposes), by us in connection with the performance of services would not constitute passive income for PFIC purposes. By contrast, rental income generally would constitute “passive income” unless we were treated as deriving that rental income in the active conduct of a trade or business under the applicable rules.

There are legal uncertainties involved in determining whether the income derived from time-chartering activities constitutes rental income or income derived from the performance of services. While there is legal authority supporting our conclusions, including IRS pronouncements concerning the characterization of income derived from time charters as services income, the Fifth Circuit held in Tidewater Inc. v. United States, 565 F.3d 299 (5th Cir. 2009) that income derived from certain marine time charter agreements should be treated as rental income rather than services income for purposes of a “foreign sales corporation” provision of the Code. In that case, the Fifth Circuit did not address the definition of passive income or the PFIC rules; however, the reasoning of the case could have implications as to how the income from a time charter would be classified under such rules. If the reasoning of this case were extended to the PFIC context, the gross income we derive or are deemed to derive from our time chartering activities may be treated as rental income, and we would likely be treated as a PFIC. The IRS has announced its non-acquiescence with the court’s holding in the Tidewater case and, at the same time, announced the position of the IRS that the marine time charter agreements at issue in that case should be treated as service contracts.

We believe that we were not a PFIC for any prior taxable year, and we expect that we will not be treated as a PFIC for the current year based on our current assets and operations. However no assurance can be given that the IRS or court of law will
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accept our position or that we would not constitute a PFIC for any future taxable year if there were to be changes in our assets, income or operations.

As discussed more fully below, if we were to be treated as a PFIC for any taxable year (and regardless of whether we remain a PFIC for subsequent taxable years), a U.S. Holder would be subject to different taxation rules depending on whether the U.S. Holder makes an election to treat us as a “Qualified Electing Fund,” which we refer to as a “QEF election.” As an alternative to making a QEF election, a U.S. Holder should be able to make a “mark-to-market” election with respect to our units, as discussed below. If we are a PFIC, a U.S. Holder will be subject to the PFIC rules described herein with respect to any of our subsidiaries that are PFICs. However, the mark-to-market election discussed below will likely not be available with respect to shares of such PFIC subsidiaries. In addition, if a U.S. Holder owns our units during any taxable year that we are a PFIC, such holder must file an annual report with the IRS.
Taxation of U.S. Holders Making a Timely QEF Election
If a U.S. Holder makes a timely QEF election (or an Electing Holder), then, for U.S. federal income tax purposes, that holder must report as income for its taxable year its pro rata share of our ordinary earnings and net capital gain, if any, for our taxable years that end with or within the taxable year for which that holder is reporting, regardless of whether or not the Electing Holder received distributions from us in that year. The Electing Holder’s adjusted tax basis in the common units or Series A Preferred Units will be increased to reflect such taxed but undistributed earnings and profits. Distributions of earnings and profits that were previously taxed will result in a corresponding reduction in the Electing Holder’s adjusted tax basis in the common units or Series A Preferred Units and will not be taxed again once distributed. An Electing Holder generally will recognize capital gain or loss on the sale, exchange or other disposition of our common units or Series A Preferred Units. A U.S. Holder makes a QEF election with respect to any year that we are a PFIC by filing IRS Form 8621 with its U.S. federal income tax return. If contrary to our expectations, we determine that we are treated as a PFIC for any taxable year, we will provide each U.S. Holder with the information necessary to make the QEF election described above.
Taxation of U.S. Holders Making a “Mark-to-Market” Election
If we were to be treated as a PFIC for any taxable year and, as we anticipate, our common units or Series A Preferred Units were treated as “marketable stock,” then, as an alternative to making a QEF election, a U.S. Holder would be allowed to make a “mark-to-market” election with respect to our common units or Series A Preferred Units, as applicable, provided the U.S. Holder completes and files IRS Form 8621 in accordance with the relevant instructions and related Treasury Regulations. If that election is made, the U.S. Holder generally would include as ordinary income in each taxable year the excess, if any, of the fair market value of the U.S. Holder’s common units or Series A Preferred Units at the end of the taxable year over the holder’s adjusted tax basis in such units. The U.S. Holder also would be permitted an ordinary loss in respect of the excess, if any, of the U.S. Holder’s adjusted tax basis in the units over the fair market value thereof at the end of the taxable year, but only to the extent of the net amount previously included in income as a result of the mark-to-market election. A U.S. Holder’s tax basis in its units would be adjusted to reflect any such income or loss recognized. Gain recognized on the sale, exchange or other disposition of our common units or Series A Preferred Units would be treated as ordinary income, and any loss recognized on the sale, exchange or other disposition of the common units or Series A Preferred Units, as applicable would be treated as ordinary loss to the extent that such loss does not exceed the net mark-to-market gains previously included in income by the U.S. Holder. Because the mark-to-market election only applies to marketable stock, however, it would not apply to a U.S. Holder’s indirect interest in any of our subsidiaries that were determined to be PFICs.
Taxation of U.S. Holders Not Making a Timely QEF or Mark-to-Market Election
If we were to be treated as a PFIC for any taxable year, a U.S. Holder that does not make either a QEF election or a “mark-to-market” election for that year (or a Non-Electing Holder) would be subject to special rules resulting in increased tax liability with respect to (1) any excess distribution (i.e., the portion of any distributions received by the Non-Electing Holder on our common units or Series A Preferred Units in a taxable year in excess of 125.0% of the average annual distributions received by the Non-Electing Holder in the three preceding taxable years, or, if shorter, the Non-Electing Holder’s holding period for the units), and (2) any gain realized on the sale, exchange or other disposition of such units. Under these special rules:
the excess distribution or gain would be allocated ratably over the Non-Electing Holder’s aggregate holding period for the common units or Series A Preferred Units;
the amount allocated to the current taxable year and any taxable year prior to the taxable year we were first treated as a PFIC with respect to the Non-Electing Holder would be taxed as ordinary income; and
the amount allocated to each of the other taxable years would be subject to tax at the highest rate of tax in effect for the applicable class of taxpayers for that year, and an interest charge for the deemed deferral benefit would be imposed with respect to the resulting tax attributable to each such other taxable year.
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These penalties would not apply to a qualified pension, profit sharing or other retirement trust or other tax-exempt organization that did not borrow money or otherwise utilize leverage in connection with its acquisition of our common units or Series A Preferred Units. If we were treated as a PFIC for any taxable year and a Non-Electing Holder who is an individual dies while owning our common units or Series A Preferred Units, such holder’s successor generally would not receive a step-up in tax basis with respect to such units.
U.S. Federal Income Taxation of Non-U.S. Holders
A beneficial owner of our common or Series A Preferred Units (other than a partnership or an entity or arrangement treated as a partnership for U.S. federal income tax purposes) that is not a U.S. Holder is referred to as a Non-U.S. Holder.
Distributions
Distributions we pay to a Non-U.S. Holder will not be subject to U.S. federal income tax or withholding tax if the Non-U.S. Holder is not engaged in a U.S. trade or business. If the Non-U.S. Holder is engaged in a U.S. trade or business, our distributions will be subject to U.S. federal income tax in the same manner as a U.S. Holder to the extent they constitute income effectively connected with the Non-U.S. Holder’s U.S. trade or business (provided, in the case of a Non-U.S. Holder entitled to the benefits of an income tax treaty with the United States, such distributions also are attributable to a U.S. permanent establishment). The after-tax amount of any effectively connected dividends received by a corporate Non-U.S. Holder may also be subject to an additional U.S. branch profits tax at a 30% rate (or, if applicable, a lower treaty rate). However, distributions paid to a Non-U.S. Holder that is engaged in a U.S. trade or business generally will be exempt from U.S. federal income tax if such Non-U.S. Holder is entitled to the benefits of an income tax treaty with the United States and the distribution is not attributable to a U.S. permanent establishment maintained by the Non-U.S. Holder.
Disposition of Units
In general, a Non-U.S. Holder is not subject to U.S. federal income tax or withholding tax on any gain resulting from the disposition of our common units or Series A Preferred Units provided the Non-U.S. Holder is not engaged in a U.S. trade or business. A Non-U.S. Holder that is engaged in a U.S. trade or business will be subject to U.S. federal income tax in the same manner as a U.S. Holder in the event the gain from the disposition of units is effectively connected with the conduct of such U.S. trade or business (provided, in the case of a Non-U.S. Holder entitled to the benefits of an income tax treaty with the United States, such gain also is attributable to a U.S. permanent establishment). However, even if not engaged in a U.S. trade or business, individual Non-U.S. Holders may be subject to tax on gain resulting from the disposition of our common units or Series A Preferred Units if they are present in the United States for 183 days or more during the taxable year in which those units are disposed and meet certain other requirements.
Backup Withholding and Information Reporting
In general, payments to a non-corporate U.S. Holder of distributions or the proceeds of a disposition of our common units or Series A Preferred Units will be subject to information reporting. These payments to a non-corporate U.S. Holder also may be subject to backup withholding if the non-corporate U.S. Holder:
fails to provide an accurate taxpayer identification number;
is notified by the IRS that it has failed to report all interest or corporate distributions required to be reported on its U.S. federal income tax returns; or
in certain circumstances, fails to comply with applicable certification requirements.

Non-U.S. Holders may be required to establish their exemption from information reporting and backup withholding by certifying their status on IRS Form W-8BEN, W-8BEN-E, W-8ECI, W-8EXP or W-8IMY, as applicable.
Backup withholding is not an additional tax. Rather, a unitholder generally may obtain a credit for any amount withheld against its liability for U.S. federal income tax (and obtain a refund of any amounts withheld in excess of such liability) by timely filing a U.S. federal income tax return with the IRS.
In addition, individual citizens or residents of the United States holding certain “foreign financial assets” (which generally includes stock and other securities issued by a foreign person unless held in account maintained by a financial institution) that exceed certain thresholds (the lowest being holding foreign financial assets with an aggregate value in excess of: (1) $50,000 on the last day of the tax year or (2) $75,000 at any time during the tax year) are required to report information relating to such assets. Significant penalties may apply for failure to satisfy the reporting obligations described above.
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Unitholders should consult their tax advisors regarding their reporting obligations, if any, that would result from their purchase, ownership or disposition of our units.
Non-United States Tax Considerations
Marshall Islands Tax Consequences
The following discussion is based upon the current laws of the Republic of the Marshall Islands applicable to persons who do not reside in, maintain offices in or engage in business in the Republic of the Marshall Islands.
We and certain of our subsidiaries are incorporated in the Marshall Islands. Under current Marshall Islands law, we are not subject to tax on income or capital gains, and no Marshall Islands withholding tax will be imposed upon payments of dividends by us to unitholders that are not residents or domiciled or carrying any commercial activity in the Marshall Islands, nor will such unitholders be subject to any Marshall Islands taxation on the sale or other disposition of our units.
United Kingdom Tax Consequences
The following is a discussion of the material United Kingdom tax consequences that may be relevant to prospective unitholders who are persons not resident for tax purposes in the United Kingdom (non-UK Holders).
Prospective unitholders who are resident in the United Kingdom are urged to consult their own tax advisors regarding the potential United Kingdom tax consequences to them of an investment in our units. For this purpose, a company incorporated outside of the United Kingdom will be treated as resident in the United Kingdom in the event its central management and control is carried out in the United Kingdom.
The discussion that follows is based upon existing United Kingdom legislation and current H.M. Revenue & Customs practice as of the date of this Annual Report. Changes in these authorities may cause the tax consequences to vary substantially from the consequences of unit ownership described below. Unless the context otherwise requires, references in this section to “we”, “our”, or “us” are references to Golar LNG Partners LP.
Taxation of Non-UK Holders
Under the United Kingdom Tax Acts, non-UK holders will not be subject to any United Kingdom taxes on income or profits (including chargeable (capital) gains) in respect of the acquisition, holding, disposition or redemption of the units, provided that:
we are not treated as carrying on a trade, profession or vocation in the United Kingdom;
such holders do not have a branch or agency or permanent establishment in the United Kingdom to which such units pertain; and
such holders do not use or hold and are not deemed or considered to use or hold their units in the course of carrying on a trade, profession or vocation in the United Kingdom.

A non-United Kingdom resident company or an individual not resident in the United Kingdom that carries on a business in the United Kingdom through a partnership is subject to United Kingdom tax on income derived from the business carried on by the partnership in the United Kingdom. Nonetheless, we expect to conduct our affairs in such a manner that we will not be treated as carrying on business in the United Kingdom. Consequently, we expect that non-UK Holders will not be considered to be carrying on business in the United Kingdom for the purposes of the United Kingdom Tax Acts solely by reason of the acquisition, holding, disposition or redemption of our units.
While we do not expect it to be the case, if the arrangements we propose to enter into result in our being considered to carry on business in the United Kingdom for the purposes of the United Kingdom Tax Acts, our unitholders would be considered to be carrying on business in the United Kingdom and would be required to file tax returns with the United Kingdom taxing authority and, subject to any relief provided in any relevant double taxation treaty (including, in the case of holders resident in the United States, the double taxation agreement between the United Kingdom and the United States), would be subject to taxation in the United Kingdom on any income and chargeable gains that are considered to be attributable to the business carried on by us in the United Kingdom.
EACH PROSPECTIVE UNITHOLDER IS URGED TO CONSULT HIS OWN TAX COUNSEL OR OTHER ADVISOR WITH REGARD TO THE LEGAL AND TAX CONSEQUENCES OF UNIT OWNERSHIP UNDER THEIR PARTICULAR CIRCUMSTANCES.

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F.            Dividends and Paying Agents
 
Not applicable.
 
G.          Statements by Experts
 
Not applicable.
 
H.          Documents on Display
 
Documents concerning us that are referred to herein may be inspected at our principal executive headquarters at 2nd Floor, S.E. Pearman Building, 9 Par-la-Ville Road, Hamilton HM 11, Bermuda. Those documents electronically filed via the SEC’s Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis, and Retrieval (or EDGAR) system may also be obtained from the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov, free of charge, or from the SEC’s Public Reference Section at 100 F Street, NE, Washington, D.C. 20549, at prescribed rates. Further information on the operation of the SEC public reference rooms may be obtained by calling the SEC at 1-800-SEC-0330.
 
I.               Subsidiary Information
 
Not applicable.
 

Item 11.                         Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk
 
We are exposed to various market risks, including interest rate and foreign currency exchange risks. We enter into a variety of derivative instruments and contracts to maintain the desired level of exposure arising from these risks.
 
Our policy is to hedge our exposure to risks, where possible, within boundaries deemed appropriate by management.
 
A discussion of our accounting policies for derivative financial instruments is included in note 2 “Basis of Preparation and Summary of Significant Accounting Policies” to our Consolidated Financial Statements. Further information on our exposure to market risk is included in note 24 “Financial Instruments” to our Consolidated Financial Statements.
 
The following analyses provide quantitative information regarding our exposure to foreign currency exchange rate risk and interest rate risk. There are certain shortcomings inherent in the sensitivity analyses presented, primarily due to the assumption that exchange rates change in a parallel fashion and that interest rates change instantaneously.
 
Interest rate risk. A significant portion of our long-term debt is subject to adverse movements in interest rates. Our interest rate risk management policy permits economic hedge relationships in order to reduce the risk associated with adverse fluctuations in interest rates. We use interest rate swaps and fixed rate debt to manage the exposure to adverse movements in interest rates. Interest rate swaps are used to convert floating rate debt obligations to a fixed rate in order to achieve an overall desired position of fixed and floating rate debt. Credit exposures are monitored on a counterparty basis, with all new transactions subject to senior management approval.
 
Assuming a 1% increase in the interest rate (including the effect of interest rates under the related interest rate swap agreements) as applied against our floating rate debt balance and our proportionate share of obligation under the Partnership Guarantee as of December 31, 2019, this would increase our interest expense by $2.8 million per annum. We have calculated our floating rate debt as the principal outstanding on our long-term bank debt and net finance lease obligations (net of related restricted cash balances). For disclosure of the fair value of the derivatives and debt obligations outstanding as of December 31, 2019, please read note 24 “Financial Instruments” to the Consolidated Financial Statements.

Foreign currency risk. A substantial amount of our transactions, assets and liabilities are denominated in currencies other than U.S. Dollars, such as Pound Sterling, in relation to the administrative expenses we will be charged by Golar Management in the UK and operating expenses incurred in a variety of foreign currencies and Brazilian Reais in respect of our Brazilian subsidiary which receives income and pays expenses in Brazilian Reais. Based on our Pound Sterling expenses for the year ended December 31, 2019, a 10% depreciation of the U.S. Dollar against Pound Sterling would have increased our expenses by $0.1 million. Based on our Brazilian Reais expenses for the year ended December 31, 2019, a 10% depreciation of the U.S. Dollar against the Brazilian Reais would have increased our net revenue and expenses by $0.3 million.
 
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The base currency of the majority of our seafaring officers’ remuneration was the Euro, Indonesian Rupiah or Brazilian Reais. Based on the crew costs for the year ended December 31, 2019, a 10% depreciation of the U.S. Dollar against the Euro, Indonesian Rupiah and the Brazilian Reais would increase our crew cost by $3.0 million.
 
We are exposed to some extent in respect of the lease transaction entered into with respect to the Methane Princess, which is denominated in Pound Sterling, although it is economically hedged by the Pound Sterling cash deposit that secures the obligations under the lease. We use cash from the deposit to make payments in respect of the lease transaction entered into with respect to the Methane Princess. Gains or losses that we incur are unrealized unless we choose or are required to withdraw monies from or pay additional monies into the deposit securing this obligation. Among other things, movements in interest rates give rise to a requirement for us to adjust the amount of the Pound Sterling cash deposit. Based on this lease obligation and the related cash deposit as of December 31, 2019, a 10% appreciation in the U.S. Dollar against Pound Sterling would give rise to a foreign exchange movement of $0.8 million.
 
 
Item 12.                         Description of Securities Other than Equity Securities
 
Not applicable.
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PART II
 
Item 13.                         Defaults, Dividend Arrearages and Delinquencies
 
Not applicable.


Item 14.                         Material Modifications to the Rights of Security Holders and Use of Proceeds
 
None.
 

Item 15.                         Controls and Procedures
 
(a)          Disclosure Controls and Procedures

Management assessed the effectiveness of the design and operation of our disclosure controls and procedures pursuant to Rule 13a-15(e) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as of the end of the period covered by this annual report as of December 31, 2019. Based upon that evaluation, our principal executive, financial and accounting officer concluded that our disclosure controls and procedures were effective as of the evaluation date.

(b)         Managements Annual Report on Internal Control over Financial Reporting

In accordance with the requirements of Rule 13a-15 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, the following report is provided by management in respect of our internal control over financial reporting. As defined by the Securities and Exchange Commission, internal control over financial reporting is a process designed by, or under the supervision of, our Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer, or persons performing similar functions, and effected by our Board of Directors, management and other personnel, to provide reasonable assurance regarding the reliability of financial reporting and the preparation of the Consolidated Financial Statements for external purposes in accordance with GAAP and includes those policies and procedures that:

pertain to the maintenance of records that, in reasonable detail, accurately and fairly reflect the transactions and dispositions of the assets of the Partnership;
provide reasonable assurance that transactions are recorded as necessary to permit preparation of financial statements in accordance with GAAP, and that receipts and expenditures of the Partnership are being made only in accordance with authorizations of management and directors of the Partnership; and
provide reasonable assurance regarding prevention or timely detection of unauthorized acquisition, use or disposition of the Partnership’s assets that could have a material effect on the financial statements.

Our management is responsible for establishing and maintaining adequate internal control over financial reporting as defined in Rules 13a-15(f) and 15d-15(f) under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Our internal control system was designed to provide reasonable assurance regarding the reliability of financial reporting and the preparation of our published Consolidated Financial Statements for external purposes under GAAP.