OW Bunker to Meet Liquidator; Ship Arrests Continue

OW Bunker owes financers more than $750 million-creditor data; six more vessels arrested; 7 in total.

The Singapore arm of bankrupt Danish shipping fuel trader OW Bunker will meet with its liquidator KPMG in early December to discuss the firm's outstanding debt, which totals almost $1.5 billion globally.

OW Bunker, a leading supplier of marine fuel oil known as "bunker", filed for bankruptcy in Denmark earlier this month after it revealed losses of at least $125 million at one of its Singapore-based subsidiaries Dynamic Oil Trading, sending the bunker fuel market into turmoil.

Oil firms have stepped up legal action against OW Bunker's Singapore units since the announcement with the arrest of ships, now totalling seven, Singapore court documents show.

Six vessels - Star Quest, Petro Asia, Luna, Nepamora, Zmaga and Arowana Milan - were arrested in the city-state over Nov. 15-17 by Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP, which earlier this month also arrested ship fuel delivery barge Laguna.

The law firm made the latest six arrests on behalf of Phillips 66 International Trading Pte Ltd, a court official said. Phillips 66 could not be reached for comment.

A meeting between OW Bunker Far East and KPMG will take place on Dec. 4 in Singapore to wind down the unit and receive a list of creditors and an estimated amount of their claims, a letter signed by the Danish firm's board of directors and seen by Reuters said.

A telephone call to OW Bunker Far East was answered by a KPMG representative, who declined to comment.

Dynamic Oil Trading also appointed KPMG as its provisional liquidator on Tuesday.

On top of the $750 million OW Bunker owes financers such as banks and pension funds, the firm also owes around 150 trading counterparties globally at least $730 million in outstanding fuel bills, OW Bunker creditor data dated Nov. 7, circulated in the industry and seen by Reuters, showed.

Of the creditors, almost half the fuel debt is owed to 20 firms in amounts of $10-35 million each, including large energy companies such as Statoil, BP, Sinopec , Glencore subsidiary Chemoil, and Phillips 66, with many other majors like Royal Dutch Shell or Repsol owed slightly less than $10 million.

Another large creditor is the Aegean group of companies, including U.S. listed Aegean Marine Petroleum, with a combined outstanding debt of more than $25 million.

Asked about OW Bunker's outstanding debt, a BP spokeswoman in Singapore said via email: "BP does not comment on its commercial activity and we are not able to provide any commentary on the bunkering industry in general. BP continues to operate its business as usual."

Requests by phone or email for comment from the other companies were not immediately responded to.

By Jane Xie and Henning Gloystein

 

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