As noted last year, Aker Philadelphia Shipyard ASA (AKPS) has signed orders from Crowley to deliver four new, LNG-ready MR product tankers for a total cost of around $500 million. Four additional tankers were also being discussed at the time of the announcement last August.
Stepping up to the plate is American Shipping Company ASA (AMSC), a shareholder of Aker Philadelphia which owns a fleet of ten 46,000 dwt Jones Act tankers, all on long-term bareboat charter to OSG.
The shipowner notes in a presentation last November, key drivers contributing to an increase in demand for Jones Act tankers include:
- Increase in US shale oil production is creating a requirement for Jones Act tonnage to transport crude oil to refineries and clean products to terminals
- Surplus of refinery capacity drives product flows from the US Gulf to the East Coast
- Increased oil movement from the Bakken area to the US North West is likely to lift seaborne trade from the North West to the South West refineries
In addition, single-hulled Jones Act tankers have been phased out over the past five years due to OPA 90 requirements resulting in a declining fleet, while at the same time, shipowners have begun ordering new ships. With only two yards capable of building MR tankers at competitive prices and timetables, NASSCO and Aker Philadelphia, yard availability is getting thin, notes AMSC in their presentation.
AMSC notes that shale oil production is expected to increase by over 114 percent in the next 10 years and with that, continued strengthening of the Jones Act tanker market will occur, as depicted in the following graph.
Aker Philadelphia notes their discussions with AMSC are “at an early stage” and that nothing definitive, exclusive, or binding has been worked out between them. In the past year however, AMSC’s stock has skyrocketed over 1000 percent.