The early years
The company's first tanker, President de Vogüé (renamed Bergesund) was delivered in 1935. In 1937 and 1939, the
tankers Charles Racine and Anders Jahre (renamed Bergeland) followed.
When World War II broke out, Bergesen d.y. operated three modern tankers, but Charles Racine was hit by torpedoes
and destroyed in 1942. The crew survived.
During the war, Sigval Bergesen d.y. realised the need to prepare for rapid development as soon as the fighting was over.
In as early as May 1945 a newbuilding contractwas signed, and by 1950 the company operated four tankers.
Sigval Bergesen d.y. made another smart move during the Second World War. In 1942, he became a majority
shareholder in Rosenberg Mekaniske Verksted
The strategy was to develop and modernise the yard after the war. The Rosenberg business became a significant
factor in the growth and development of Bergesen.
When the yard was sold to Kværner AS in 1970, Rosenberg had built 19 vessels for Bergesen.
Following the end of World War II, the company took delivery of a series of tankers. By 1955, Bergesen d.y. was
operating seven modern tankers of up to 34,000 dwt, all of them on long-term charters to major oil companies.
During the next decade the company continued its rapid fleet expansion. More than 16 tankers had been delivered
and the typical size had now grown to102,000 dwt. Chartering work and good timing enabled the company
to further develop its close relations with the oil majors.
In 1967, Sigval Bergesen d.y. entered a new business segment: the transportation of dry bulk cargoes. His son,
Berge Sig. Bergesen, who had started this shipping business ten years earlier, experienced financial difficulties.
Berge Sig. Bergesen had formed a partnership with Hugo Neu Corp.to transport iron ore on large dry bulk vessels.
Sigval Bergesen d.y. took over this partnership and all of his son's vessels.
When Bergesen entered the turbulent 1970s, it had grown to one of the largest shipowning companies in the world.
Many changes were to occurduring this decade, but the company kept its leading position.
The oil crisis in the mid 1970s affected a number of shipping companies severely. Bergesen,
with its long term contracts and a careful chartering policy, remained financially strong. In fact,
the company was in a position to further expand.
From tankers to gas
In 1976, the founder Sigval Bergesen d.y. retired at 83 years of age. Management was handed over to his two grandchildren,
Petter C.G. Sundt and Morten Sig. Bergesen. When Sigval Bergesen d.y. passed away on 7 May 1980, a long and brilliant
shipping career had come to an end.
Bergesen entered a new business segment in 1978; the transportation of gas. Another Norwegian shipowner,
Fearnley & Eger, had ordered six LPG (liquefied petroleum gases) vessels of 75,000 cbm. Fearnley & Eger had to
cancel the contracts due to financial difficulties, and Bergesen took theopportunity to take over the vessels.
These transactions created the basis for Bergesen's strong position in the gas market today.
Early in 1984, Bergesen bought a 65 per cent interest in two large LPG carriers, Berge Arrow and Berge Eagle,
and took over their management.The sister vessel Berge Sword was purchased in 1988.
While low oil prices led to higher volumes being sold, thus increasing the demand for tonnage, freight rates
hardly covered the operational costs. The LPG market, however, was much more interesting.
Shipments from the Arabian Gulf to the USA grew, causing the rates to increase as well. Thus, the company
was in a strong position to fix a number of vessels for long periods at favourable rates.
By the end of the 1980s, Bergesen had become a major operator of large LPG carriers. More tonnage was acquired,
sold and contracted, and in1996 Bergesen merged with the gas carrier company Havtor ASA, a medium-sized carrier
company with roots in the 1960's. With this additional tonnage the Bergesen fleet counted more than 100 vessels.
The company was now a dominant player in the markets for both crude oil and gas transportation.
Offshore and LNG
In 1986, the various companies in the Bergesen group were gathered under a holding company, Bergesen d.y. ASA.
This company was listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange on 9 September 1986.
Bergesen revised its strategy in 1999 and decided to focus on two new growth areas; LNG and offshore services. Bergesen was able
to utilise its competencies in its core markets to enter these two areas, which provided improved and more stable returns for the company.
This renewed focus resulted in the acquisition of 11 LNG newbuildings between 2000 and 2005, of which seven are currently under
construction at Daewoo in Korea. In 2001, Bergesen entered into long-term contracts with Tractebel for the first two vessels, but the real
breakthrough in LNG came in 2002, when Bergesen was awarded a contract for four LNG vessels by Nigeria LNG. An addtional four
vessels were later awarded by NLNG to Bergesen LNG Ltd., a subsidiary of Bergesen Worldwide Ltd. These four vessels will be managed by
Bergesen Worldwide Gas. In September 2005, a letter of intent was signed with Suez LNG for a further two vessels.
Bergesen's offshore venture started with the acquisition of Scantank Offshore in 1999. Since then, Bergesen has converted five
FPSOs (floating production, storage and offloading vessel) on time and on budget. Bergesen Worldwide Offshore is now a separate company
within the group, focusing on oil FPSOs and LPG FPSOs in benign waters, in addition to arctic oil FSOs.
Sohmen-family interests, owner of the large World-Wide tanker fleet, acquired Bergesen d.y. ASA in April 2003.
The new owners de-listed Bergesen in the summer of that year and then proceeded to consolidate their interests in the
two businesses by setting up Bergesen Worldwide Ltd. as a new holding company for the two shipping groups. In this process,
Bergesen sold its remaining tankers to World-Wide companies and retained the gas (LPG and LNG), dry bulk and
offshore (FSO/FPSO) businesses.
During the autumn of 2005, Bergesen was restructured by separating out its offshore and dry bulk businesses into stand-alone
entities within the Bergesen Worldwide group. The offshore operations were sold to the newly incorporated Bergesen
Worldwide Offshore group. The offshore activities continues to be managed from Norway by BW Offshore.
Bergesen's dry bulk fleet was also transferred (by sale and de-merger) to the private sphere of the Bergesen Worldwide
Group (now named BW Bulk). The world's largest gas fleet remained in the company, which was renamed Bergesen Worldwide
Gas ASA and listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange on 25 October, 2005. In line with a group rebranding in 2007, Bergesen
Worldwide Gas changed name to BW Gas. In April 2006, BW Gas entered into an agreement with fertiliser company
Yara to take over its ammonia fleet consisting of ten vessels.
BW Gas was redomiciled to Bermuda in July 2008 and the new holding company, BW Gas Limited, replaced BW
Gas ASA as the listed company. The company's last day on the Oslo Stock Exchange was 30 June 2009 and the
company is now wholly owned by BW Group.
From the company webpage: www.bwgas.com