By Ira Breskin
ATHENS — Tsakos Energy Navigation Ltd., a leading tanker operator, plans to “opportunistically expand its (modest size) LNG tanker fleet in the next several years,” a senior company official said here Monday in an interview at the company’s management offices
More specifically TEN (NYSE: TNP) will do so either organically or through merger or acquisition, said Apostolos Tsitsirakis. He develops TEN Ltd.’s strategy and corporate development, capital markets.
TEN, among the world’s largest independent tanker operators, has a diversified 72-vessel fleet (including newbuilds) that serves the entire energy market. It operates crude, product and shuttle tankers, as well as three LNG carriers. It manages all vessels in-house
On January 12, 2022, TEN took delivery of its third LNG carrier, Tenergy, and it began a long-term charter at a healthy base rate, the company said in its fourth quarter and year-end earnings statement released on April 14.
Moreover, that positive LNG market outlook is driving the planned expansion of the company’s LNG carrier fleet, Tskitsirakis said
Equinor ASA, the Norwegian energy giant, is among Tsakos’ largest customers, chartering about 12 conventional tankers, Tsitsirakis said. Cheniere Energy Inc., the US-based LNG exporter, charters at least one TEN LNG carrier.
Currently, about 60 percent of TEN’s fleet operates under long-term time charter, the rest essentially serve the spot market. The company’s spot market contracts are net of voyage expenses, Tsitsirakis said.
TEN’s fleet is among the industry’s youngest, the company reports. That reflects TEN’s strategy to systematically upgrade the company’s vessel portfolio. TEN vessels become sales candidates at age 12, according to Tsitsirakis.
In fact, TEN’s aggressive sales and purchase strategy has generated outsized returns over much of the company’s almost 30-years as a public company, analysts say.
Ira Breskin is a senior lecturer at State University of New York Maritime College in the Bronx, NY and author of The Business of Shipping (9th edition, 2018), a primer that explains shipping economics, operations and regulations.
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