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From VLCCs to VLGCs: Dorian LPG Is Positioned For Success

MarEx Interview with Nigel Widdowson, Director, Dorian LPG

By MarEx 2013-11-21 10:21:00

Photo: Captain Markos NL

With more than a century worth of shipping expertise, Dorian Hellas (S.A.) has always kept a strong focus on building the best vessels possible and operating them with precision to meet the demands of some of the industry’s largest companies.

MarEx recently spoke with Nigel Widdowson, Director, Dorian LPG to discuss their latest Very Large Gas Carrier (VLGC) acquisitions and orders, the liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) market and other industry issues. Check out our interview below:

MarEx: Dorian LPG’s vision is to lead the way in LPG maritime transportation. How will the acquisition of Scorpio Tankers’ VLGC fleet help in advancing this goal?

NW: Having the most modern fleet on order, all of which are ECO class, we believe that we will be able to provide the class of vessel to our charterers that they are requesting.

MarEx: Dorian entered the LPG market in 2002. How have you seen the sector evolve, and where do you see it going in the next couple of years?

NW: In 2002, we entered the pressure market and developed our VLGC business through the contacts we made in the former sector. Our VLGC strategy has, up till now, been focused on period employment for our vessels. The biggest change that has occurred has been the recent consolidation among the larger VLGC owners. Of course, now we have a game changer in the export from the United States of LPG. When we started in this sector, the belief was that ships of this class would be loading cargoes in the Middle East for the US Gulf.

MarEx: You just completed a private placement to part finance a series of VLGC newbuildings. Can you elaborate on this?

NW: Our private placements have been designed to allow us to enlarge our fleet at new building prices which we believe are at the low end of the current cycle.

MarEx: You are expecting two new LPG tankers to be delivered next year. Are they on charter or the open market?

NW: The vessels are not yet employed but we are exploring period opportunities with first class charterers.

MarEx: How have the new regulatory and environmental requirements impacted your newbuild program, if at all?

NW: Our newbuildings have been designed to comply with the new regulations and the first and third of our new deliveries will be equipped with scrubbers. We will make a decision shortly on the remaining vessels however the ECO design is not only about air pollution, it is about saving bunker consumption through a modified hull form and engine.

MarEx: How has the shale energy boom affected Dorian LPG?

NW: The export of LPG from the US as a result of the shale boom has changed the trading pattern of VLGCs and all forecasts point to an increase in ton miles for this class of vessel.

MarEx: Why is Dorian LPG set to succeed?

NW: Over the last ten years, we have built very strong relationships with leading charterers and our in house technical and commercial management has proven to be something that our charterers prefer. Our mission statement is our roadmap to success: To Arrange Safe, Reliable and Trouble-Free Transportation.