Oman Shipping to spend $4bn on fleet expansion
Muscat, March 24, 2008
Oman's state-owned shipping company aims to spend up to $4 billion over the next three to four years to expand its fleet size, a senior company official said.
Oman Shipping Company (OSC) is looking to grow its shipping fleet mainly to meet the demand for energy transportation, its chief financial officer Kuldeep Mathur told Reuters in a recent telephone interview.
"We are expanding the fleet with a view of the future demands for our export grade crudes and products."
Part of OSC's multi-billion dollar expansion includes a recent order to build 10 Very Large Crude Carriers (VLCCs), Mathur said.
In Februray, OSC placed two separate orders with South Korea's Hyundai Heavy Industries Co, the world's largest shipbuilder, to build five supertankers, and with Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering Co to build another five VLCCs.
The shipbuilding contracts placed with the South Korean shipyards were valued at about $770 million each, or around $1.54 billion in total.
OSC is in discussions with the National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC) on securing a long-term charter contract for at least five of the recently ordered supertankers, Mathur said.
"Yes, we are discussing the option with them, along with others, but we are not decided yet," Mathur said declining to offer more details.
Financing for OSC's fleet expansion could likely come via loan arrangements from the North Asian institutions, Japan Bank for International Cooperation, Korea Export Insurance Corporation (KEIC) or European banks BNP Paribas and Societe Generale, Mathur said.
"We have a very good relationship with several banks, and could look to either one to finance our expansion plans," he said. - Reuters