Is now the time for a new tanker story?
Yesterday, I was sitting in a traffic jam when BBC Radio Four news announced that “Talks will begin in London today on reducing the greenhouse gases produced by the global shipping industry. Shipping was excluded from the Paris Agreement on climate change, but now there is pressure on the sector to cut emissions.”
You can imagine my surprise; I nearly bumped the car in front of me.
First, I can’t recall the last time shipping was mention on the news without providing a mental image of a guillemot bathed in crude oil. Second, the brief statement gave the impression that shipping is an industry that is only just getting around to debating its pollution problem.
This reinforces my comment last week that the decisions made this week at IMO will decide the public’s view of the shipping industry.
But from a purely tanker shipping point of view, this ramping up of public awareness of the pollution effect of shipping is, to my mind, and no doubt to many others, an opportunity for a tanker IPO.
Shipping IPOs need scale and a good story. As a rule of thumb, an IPO needs to be at least US$500M to attract the attention of the big investors, the pension funds and so on.
In the current climate, a good story would be to raise funds for a fleet of LNG-powered VLCCs (I am not ignoring scrubbers, it is just that the LNG story is an easier sell), chartered-out to an oil major or independent looking to build a strong ethical corporate image.
With VLCC newbuilding prices at the current low of US$80M, and the MSI research that found shipyards absorb innovation costs, now could be the time.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.