BW Group

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BW Group Limited
Industry Shipping
Headquarters Oslo and Singapore
Area served
Key people
Chairman: Andreas Sohmen-Pao; CEO: Carsten Mortensen
Number of employees
4,500 (2016)

The BW Group, previously Bergesen Worldwide, is a leading global maritime group involved in shipping, floating gas infrastructure and deepwater oil & gas production, and has been delivering energy and other vital commodities for more than 75 years, with a current fleet of over 165 ships. The group was founded by Sir Y.K. Pao in Hong Kong in 1955 as World-Wide Shipping. In 2003, the group acquired Bergesen, Norway’s largest shipping company founded in 1935, and in 2005, the business was re-branded as BW. Today, BW Group operates the world’s largest gas shipping fleet (LNG and LPG combined), with a total of 70 large gas vessels, including three FSRUs (floating storage and regasification units). BW Offshore operates the world’s second largest floating oil and gas production fleet (FPSOs), with 15 units in US, Brazil, Mexico, West Africa, North Sea, and Australasia. BW’s fleet also includes crude oil supertankers, refined oil tankers, chemical tankers and dry bulk carriers. Main offices are in Singapore, Oslo, Copenhagen and Houston, and manning offices are located in Manila and Mumbai. The holding company is registered in Bermuda.

The BW Group comprises BW Offshore, BW LPG, BW Pacific, BW LNG, BW VLCC, BW Chemical Tankers, BW Dry Cargo and BW Fleet Management. BW LPG and BW LPG are listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange.


The BW group includes two long-standing shipping businesses: World-Wide Shipping (founded by Sir Yue-Kong Pao) and Bergesen d.y. which was acquired by World-Wide in 2003.

In the late 1970s, two British Hongs were taken over by Chinese entrepreneurs: Hutchison Whampoa Ltd by Li Ka-Shing, and Kowloon Wharf by Yue-Kong Pao. Y.K. Pao was a native from Ningbo, Zhejiang province who came to Hong Kong in 1949 and acquired an aging ship to establish the Worldwide Shipping Company in 1955. At its peak in 1979 World-Wide had 204 ships totalling 20,500,000 tonnes deadweight (DWT).[1] When the shipping downturn started in 1978, World-Wide sold tonnage while prices were still reasonable, paying off debt and building cash resources. In less than five years the fleet had halved in size, allowing World-Wide to avoid the crises suffered by many shipping companies.[2]

In 1989, Pao passed on his interest in World-Wide to his eldest daughter, Anna Sohmen-Pao, shortly before his death in 1991. World-Wide was ranked as the sixth largest shipping fleet (number of vessels) in the world in 2004 and has been chaired by Helmut Sohmen, Pao's eldest daughter's husband, since 1986.

In late 2000, following a period of stakebuilding starting in Bergesen d.y., the Sohmen family came to an agreement in March 2003 with Morten Bergesen and Petter Sundt, the controlling family shareholders, to buy their interest in Bergesen and mount a full public offering for all outstanding shares.

In 2004, following completion of this transaction, there was a reorganisation of the Sohmen family interests, with the creation of a new top holding company, Bergesen Worldwide Ltd., registered in Bermuda, which is owned 93% by the Sohmen family and 7% by HSBC. The holding company was subsequently renamed BW Group Limited.

In 2005, a further re-organisation took place, accompanied by the re-branding of the business under a single group brand, BW. BW Gas was listed in Oslo in October 2005 as a pure gas shipping company with the BW Group retaining a majority share. BW Offshore followed suit by being listed in May 2006. The other assets remain in private ownership.

In 2009, BW Gas was privatised. On 21 November 2013, the LPG business was listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange as BW LPG.


  1. ^ Hutcheon, Robert (1990). First Sea Lord: The Life and Work of Sir Y. K. Pao. Chinese University Press. ISBN 9622014542. 
  2. ^ Sohmen, Anna (2014). Y.K. pao: My Father. Hong Kong University Press. ISBN 988808383X. 

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