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NSCSA to double crude and petrochemical fleets

Dubai: National Shipping Company of Saudi Arabia has embarked on an ambitious fleet expansion policy, as outlined by Saleh Al Shamekh, president of the oil & gas transportation division, at the Middle East Money & Ships conference in Dubai this week.

'The company's five-year plan aims to double the size of its crude and petrochemicals fleets by 2010," Al Shamekh told delegates. A total of eight VLCC newbuildings have been contracted at Hyundai Samho for delivery between 2007 and 2009, he said, thereby increasing the company's VLCC fleet to 17 units of 5.25m dwt.

Even more dramatic expansion is underway on the chemicals front, via its 80:20 venture with SABIC, National Chemical Carriers (NCC). That company already owns 12 chemical carriers of between 25,000dwt and 47,000dwt and has another 22 IMO Class 2 units of 46,000dwt to 47,000dwt on order, Al Shamekh revealed.

NCC's plans chime with those of Gulf Energy Maritime (GEM), which was founded only in 2004 but plans to have grown its fleet to 19 product carriers by 2009, making it "the largest private commercial tanker operator in the region," according to ceo Ahmed Essa Hareb Al Falahi. The refining of petrochemicals in the Gulf region is set to grow from 16m tonnes in 2006 to 45m tonnes by 2010, he told Middle East Money & Ships delegates. 

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