Oil glut propels shipping firm’s shares on storage demand

Oil glut propels shipping firm’s shares on storage demand

A tug boat passes by an oil tanker docked at the port of Tuxpan, in Veracruz state, Mexico, on April 22, 2020. (Reuters photo)
A tug boat passes by an oil tanker docked at the port of Tuxpan, in Veracruz state, Mexico, on April 22, 2020. (Reuters photo)

Prima Marine Plc, among the world’s best-performing marine-transport companies the past month, is expanding its storage capacity as the supply glut of crude oil, gasoline and other fuels has stoked demand for its floating tanks.

The Bangkok-based firm expects to invest about US$30 million this quarter for a new storage vessel, with its existing fleet of eight carriers already at capacity, said Chief Financial Officer Viritphol Churaisin. A global supply glut has forced traders and refineries to seek additional storage, with floating facilities typically cheaper than onshore counterparts, he said.

“We’re considering more floating capacity,” Viritphol said in a phone interview Tuesday. “The supply surplus has created huge demand for storage of oil and fuels.”

Crude oil prices have plunged about 80% this year as the economic fallout from the coronavirus outbreak vaporised demand for everything from gasoline to crude.

Prima Marine’s own transportation unit has seen traffic slump, said Viritphol, adding that he still expects to achieve the company’s profit-growth target of at least 10% this year. The storage and shipping units typically each account for 40% of revenue. The company also offers offshore-exploration support and ship management.

“Prima Marine’s earnings growth will remain strong in the first half because of its floating storage business,” said Siam Tiyanont, an analyst at Phillip Securities (Thailand). “There remains major concern about the transport business, as the steep economic slowdown will keep hurting demand for shipping of fuels.”

Prima Marine’s shares have jumped more than 60% in the past month, the second-biggest gain among the world’s marine-transport companies with market values of at least $500 million, a threshold it passed this week, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.


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