“The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is widely expected to lead to tougher regulations with consequences for the whole offshore industry,” says Andreas Sohmen-Pao, CEO of the BW Group, one of the world’s leading maritime groups, to DNV Forum. He adds that new requirements, if based on thoughtful regulation, can bring the industry forward and generate business opportunities for progressive companies.
Andreas Sohmen-Pao is interviewed in the latest issue of DNV Forum, sharing his views on topics such as the outcome of the oilspill in the Gulf of Mexico and the impact of the financial crisis on the shipping industry. “We are watching carefully to see what the outcome of the oil spill will be. It is hard to predict specifically how the regulations will change, as some of the changes will be politically driven. However, there is no doubt that requirements will be tougher,” he says. One concern he has is that decisions will be made on emotional rather than practical grounds.
“A general trend towards higher environmental expectations from society and politicians is also leading to stricter environmental legislation for both the offshore and shipping industries,” says Sohmen-Pao. “One benefit is that the changes will help us prepare for a world with more expensive energy costs. As such, we should embrace fuel management and energy efficiency as opportunities to be ready for the future, not just from an environmental point of view but also from an economic one.”
Still potential for new setbacks
On the question about whether shipping has been through the worst now with regards to the financial crisis, he says: “I don’t have a crystal ball, but I think there is still the potential for new setbacks. It’s very unlikely that we will see the declines of 2009, but we still have some unresolved issues: huge shipyard capacity, a continued high level of ordering in some segments, companies with very different levels of readiness to cope with reversals. On the positive side, we see tremendous demand in emerging economies which could prove enough to pull us through, so it’s obviously quite possible that the worst is behind us.”
The BW Group is one of the world’s leading maritime groups in the tanker, gas and offshore segments, operating a fleet of more than 110 vessels from centres in Singapore and Oslo. The group has six business areas: crude tankers, product tankers, chemical tankers, LNG carriers, LPG carriers and FPSOs.