While most businesses in Norway are struggling with the Corona crisis and collapse in oil prices, shipowners with large oil tankers are making a fortune. Their vessels have been in great demand, for storing cheap oil as well as shipping it.
“We’re earning tons of money,” Herbjørn Hansson told the Financial Times last week. He controls Nordic American Tankers (NAT), which was struggling itself not too long ago and in lots of trouble over dubious sales of vessels that wound up being beached for scrapping in South Asia. NAT distanced itself from the controversial practice, with Hansson claiming he had no control over what buyers did with what he sold.
Now the Sandefjord-based Hansson, known for his battles with critical Norwegian media, is clearly enjoying being back on top in the highly cyclical shipping world. His staff doing most of the work in Oslo has been busy chartering NAT’s 23 Suezmax vessels with capacity for a million barrels of oil each. Hansson claimed they’ve been getting charter rates of as much as USD 70,000 a day on vessels that have daily operating costs of USD 8,000.
It remained unclear what the vessels’ current break-even rate is, but Hansson has earlier said NAT is “happy” with rates over USD 30,000 day. That indicates that the current market is allowing NAT to rake in huge profits, and its shares have been jumping over the past week. NAT’s share price has soared 50 percent so far this year.