Executive Briefings

Growing Chemical Production Spurs Building Specialized Ocean Tankers

After four years in the doldrums, the specialized chemical tankers that ply the seas between the United States and Asia are set to generate bumper profits for the handful of companies that own and operate them.

A surge in U.S. chemical production, fueled by cheap natural gas, is beginning to outpace capacity aboard a limited global fleet - a shortage that analysts expect to peak in 2015.

With chemical tankers in scarce supply, companies such as Ardmore Shipping Corp and Norwegian peers Stolt-Nielsen Ltd and Odfjell SE will be able to command higher rates.

"I don't think I have ever seen a more compelling set-up for a recovery than we have in the chemical sector today," said Anthony Gurnee, Ardmore's chief executive and a 30-year veteran of the shipping business.

An abundance of cheap natural gas from American shale deposits has spurred companies such as Exxon Mobil Corp and Dow Chemical Co to spend big on the construction or expansion of chemical plants.

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A surge in U.S. chemical production, fueled by cheap natural gas, is beginning to outpace capacity aboard a limited global fleet - a shortage that analysts expect to peak in 2015.

With chemical tankers in scarce supply, companies such as Ardmore Shipping Corp and Norwegian peers Stolt-Nielsen Ltd and Odfjell SE will be able to command higher rates.

"I don't think I have ever seen a more compelling set-up for a recovery than we have in the chemical sector today," said Anthony Gurnee, Ardmore's chief executive and a 30-year veteran of the shipping business.

An abundance of cheap natural gas from American shale deposits has spurred companies such as Exxon Mobil Corp and Dow Chemical Co to spend big on the construction or expansion of chemical plants.

Read Full Article