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Dorian LPG Ltd (NYSE:LPG)
Q2 2022 Earnings Call
Nov 3, 2021, 10:00 a.m. ET

Contents:

  • Prepared Remarks
  • Questions and Answers
  • Call Participants

Prepared Remarks:

Operator

Greetings, and welcome to the Dorian LPG Second Quarter 2022 Earnings Conference Call. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. A brief question-and-answer session will follow the formal presentation.

Additionally, a live audio webcast of today's conference call is available on Dorian LPG's website, which is www.dorianlpg.com. I would now like to turn the conference over to Ted Young, Chief Financial Officer. Thank you, Mr. Young. Please go ahead.

Theodore B. Young -- Chief Financial Officer

Thank you, Darryl, and good morning, everyone. Thank you all for joining us for our second quarter 2022 results conference call. With me today are John Hadjipateras, Chairman, President and CEO of Dorian LPG Limited; John Lycouris, Chief Executive Officer of Dorian LPG USA; and Tim Hansen, Chief Commercial Officer. As a reminder, this conference call webcast and a replay of this call will be available through November 10, 2021. Many of our remarks today contain forward-looking statements based on current expectations. These statements may often be identified with words such as expect, anticipate, believe or similar indications of future expectations. Although we believe that such forward-looking statements are reasonable, we cannot assure you that any forward-looking statements will prove to be correct.

These forward-looking statements are subject to known and unknown risks and uncertainties and other factors as well as general economic conditions. Should one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or should underlying assumptions or estimates prove to be incorrect, actual results may vary materially from those we express today. Additionally, let me refer you to our unaudited results for the period ended September 30, 2021, that were filed this morning on Form 10-Q. In addition, please refer to our previous filings on Form 10 -- on Form 10-K, where you'll find risk factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those forward-looking statements. Finally, for our discussion this morning of our second quarter results, you may also find it useful to refer to the investor highlight slides posted this morning on our website, both under the recent News section on the homepage and under the News and Media tab, which can also be located on our homepage, www.dorianlpg.com. With that, I'll turn over the call to John Hadjipateras.

John Hadjipateras -- Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President

Good morning or good afternoon, as the case may be. Ted, John and I are speaking from Stanford and Tim Hansen calling in from Copenhagen. Thank you for joining us to discuss our second quarter 2022 financial and operating results. We now have 62% of our seafarers fully vaccinated, 27% or 236 out of 889 were vaccinated at U.S. ports. The pandemic has brought our teams closer in coordinating efficient and safe crew changes and is also enabling us to engage and integrate our seafarers into our processes of fuel and emission savings. Our seafarers will be our most valuable partners and the continuing effort to decarbonize. Our fleet performance and technical teams are assessing emission saving devices, which potentially will reduce consumptions of our ECO fleet. Since January 2020, our efforts to reduce emissions have resulted in fuel savings of over $2.5 million. We were able to achieve solid market rates this quarter by optimizing our positioning and timing.

Ton-mile demand increased, but bunker prices have also risen alongside crude oil prices. The Baltic index averaged about $42 for the period July one to September 30, down roughly $10 from the previous three month average. At $51.60, Baltic average for the quarter, July to September, the TC equivalent was about $8,000 higher than at yesterday's $56 quote. North American exports continue to rebuild after reaching low levels last fall due to COVID delays. Middle East exports are also recovering from their 4-week moving average as it passed 700,000 last week. Actually, 750,000 in mid-October. It was 700,000 at the last week of September. And that's the highest export number from the region since last February. The arbitrage between Mont Belvieu and the Far East index price for LPG has widened in recent weeks. The Baltic VLGC index is trading at about $56 currently, up from $45 at the end of September and $37 in mid-September. We have a constructive view of the winter market. On the supply side of the market, U.S. NGL production is resilient despite the short-term impact from hurricanes in late August and early September.

We expect exports from both the U.S. and the Middle East to increase in the winter months as OPEC+ continue to implement production cut reversals and as winter demand returns. With new building deliveries limited to seven between November and February and canal congestion increasing, the vessel supply demand balance looks favorable. Given the 100-plus differential between HSFO and LSFO, our 12 scrubber vessels continue to justify our investment. The HSFO to LSFO spread has maintained a quarterly average spread above $100 per ton for all of 2021, which is nearly double the average spread we saw in the second half of 2020, when it was $54 a ton. We took the opportunity to optimize our fleet by selling the Captain Markos NL for a firm price. Given the demand for vessels of this type and the desire to improve our debt cost, we have exercised the repurchase option on our other two captains, which has the dual benefit of paying off our most expensive debt and giving us full flexibility with respect to these vessels. The decision to free up to these ships is not in any way a deviation from our capital allocation focus on returning capital to shareholders where possible. We'll now pass over the line to Tim to further brief you on our commercial results.

Tim Hansen -- Chief Commercial Officer/Director

Thank you, John. The third quarter of '21 continues many of the trends that we saw in the previous quarter. North American LNG production demonstrate robustness, Asian demand -- or Asian import demand grew, and crude oil prices continue to climb, with the average Brent crude oil price at about $73.5 per barrel. In Q3 of '21, global seaborne LPG was marginally up compared to Q2 in '21 and about 750,000 tons about the same period in 2020. The North American exports were slightly down in the third quarter compared to second quarter, but the increase in Middle East volumes exceeded the lower export figures from North America. North American exports were hampered by the production difficulties emerging after hurricane Ida when oil production was shut down at the end of August. Aside from the storm related decline in production, North American NGL production and thereby, the LPG export reflected the levels seen in the quarter prior to. The increasing export volumes from the Middle East come on the back of the reversal of reduction cuts agreed by the OPEC+ countries commencing from August.

This is not to say all exporting nations from the Middle East increased exports. Some of the increase seen from Saudi Arabia and Iran was offset by lower exports from the United Arab Emirates and from Kuwait. Import volumes into India increased by about one million tons compared to the second quarter. Imports into China, South Korea and Japan declined. Despite the new PDH plant commencing operations in China during the first quarter of '21, the run rates were progressively dropping during the quarter. Falling margins due to rising feedstock has been suggested as the main cause by several analysts. Power cuts and energy control measures in China have also has been hinted as a cause in September declines in run rates, although this cannot currently be estimated how severe the energy control measure will be in Q4 '21, the forecast of PDH margins remain positive. The propane-naphtha spread reversed in Q3 '21 with naphtha becoming the preferred feedstock for steam crackers in Asia, providing some explanation for the declining imports to South Korea and Japan. Whereas the global seaborne volumes were slightly above the prior quarter. VLCC supplied outpaced VLGC demand for the third quarter, and freight markets were down quarter-on-quarter.

And the rising bunker prices also negatively impacted the time charter equivalent earnings. The BLPG1 indication on market for the Middle East to Asia averaged about $42 during the -- $42 per ton during the third quarter compared to about $53 during -- per ton during the second quarter. The BLPG3 index, which indicates the market rate for U.S. Gulf to Asia averaged about $80.8 per ton during the third quarter compared to $87.2 per ton during the second quarter. In the East of Suez market, there was considerable vessel overhand during July after the VLGCs cartelization on strong markets that may complete the discharge in the Far East in June and July. This overall supplier of vessels coincided with the lower export volume from the Middle East in June and July. Rates improved toward the end of July and thereafter remains largely sustainable. Although the index was under pressure, there were several cargoes from Australia, West Africa and voyages to India that was concluded at premiums.

The BLPG3, which is the U.S. Gulf to Far East Asia index follow the downward trends on the BLPG1, AG India or AG Asia route. However, it remained -- however, the BLPG3 remains a premium to the BSPG1. It can also be noted that while the index has dropped and one fixture was reported as lower $73 on the Houston Chiba route. Very few fixtures was concluded at the low end. Once the bottom of the market was found, the rebound was considerable. And the same week of the mentioned fixture at $73 per ton was reported, a fixture of $85 per ton was reported. The developments of the VLGC freight market during Q3 demonstrated quite smartly how important buying prices in the Far East are. Most focus was placed on rising on Belvieu prices and its negative impact on the arbitrage. However, when the Far East index rose on the back of dramatic crude oil price increases in the mid of September, the arbitrage opened quickly to facilitate swing cargoes. Panama Canal congestions dropped during August and September as new Panamax container ships were delayed from sailing to the Panama.

After COVID-19 outbreaks in Shanghai and Ningbo in July, they were prevented from departing from these terminals. While this would have facilitated the transpacific VLGC trade, it reduced VLGC. The rising crude oil prices, therefore, supported VLGC trade positively during Q3 of '21 by widening the arbitrage. The same price increase did however also rise the bunker expenditures by about 70% and thus a relatively lower TCE earnings. During Q2 of '21, the average cost per ton of very low sulfur fuel oil was around $503 per metric ton and in Q3, it averages about $536 per ton. Despite the negative impact on earnings from the rising bunkers, there are also several positives for the remainder of 2021. LPG demand has been robust during the third quarter despite its challenges. And no obvious challenges to the demand are reported. Furthermore, North American productions of LPG remain strong, and Middle East exports are forecasted to grow following the invasion the OPEC+ production costs.

Lastly, whereas Panama Canal congestion were low during the third quarter, following a significant roll-off of container vessels in the Chinese ports, as mentioned, congestion is now increasing, adding to the utilization of the worldwide VLGC fleet. Increasing congestion in the Neopanamax adds to planning complexities and costs to the supply chain and is forecasted to continue. Facing this reality, three dual fuel of the Panamax in VLCCs has been contracted on long-term time charters at attractive rates with purchase options for delivering in 2023. This is tonnage providers, and it was ordered at prime South Korean shipyard. At time of riding, current waiting time for the northbound transits for the Neopanamax, for the new Panama Canal is 13 days, whereas for the old canal, it is three days. Quicker transits not only improve planning for customers, but they also bring down costs and increase the feasibility of using LPG as a propulsion fuel for these ships as long balances via can be avoided. With this, I will pass on to Ted.

Theodore B. Young -- Chief Financial Officer

Thank you, Tim. My comments today will focus on our financial position and liquidity and, of course, our unaudited second quarter results. Since our last report, we've exercised our repurchase options on the Captain John and the Captain Nicholas. We expect the John to close on or about December 1st and will pay about $15.9 million, including accrued interest in cash on or about that date. We expect the Nicholas to be delivered back to us in late January 2022, and we anticipate a cash payment then of approximately $17.8 million. In addition to paying off our highest cost debt, 6%, the repayment of this debt enhances our flexibility to consider asset sales even more opportunistically as we have seen firm pricing for vessels of this vintage. We will continue to evaluate fleet optimization opportunities as they present themselves. On September 30, 2021, we had $98.1 million of free cash. And as of yesterday, our free cash balance stood roughly unchanged at $92.3 million.

I'd point out that even pro forma for the two repurchases and an $8 million payment on our Kawasaki new build that is forthcoming, we retain a healthy cash balance. In addition, we do continue to consider several financing alternatives that would allow us to free up equity in our vessels without significantly changing our cash cost per day. With a debt balance of $576.2 million at quarter end, our debt to total book capitalization stood at about 38.8%. As a reminder, we have no refinancings until 2025, ample free cash as well as an undrawn revolver. On that basis, we expect our operating cash cost per day for the coming year to be approximately $22,000 per day, which excludes the $8 million progress payment that I mentioned for our new building that's due in our fiscal fourth quarter. That is the quarter ending March 31, 2022. Before turning to our results, again, I'd remind you that the investor slides are available on our website, either under recent news or on the news and media page, and they may be useful as we walk through some of the results.

For the second quarter, we achieved a total utilization of 95.7% for the quarter with a daily TCE, that's time charter equivalent revenue over operating days as we define those terms in our filings of 30,996, yielding a utilization adjusted TCE per day i.e. TCE revenue per available day of about $29,647. Spot TCE per available day, which reflects our portion of the net profits of the Helios pool for the quarter was about 29,810. In addition, looking at the Helios pool as an entity, it reported a spot TC, including COAs of approximately 29,349 per available day and Helios overall, including its time chartered vessels reported a result of 30,408. So the better pool results overall were a function of the attractively executed time charters in the Helios pool. Our daily OpEx for the quarter came to 9,184, excluding amounts expensed for drydockings. It was 9,210, including those costs. Those levels represent a significant improvement over last quarter. We're pleased to see a reduction in our running costs, which sequentially has been most notable in the areas of crewing and spares and stores. Within the quarter, we saw our daily Opex, again, excluding those drydocking related amounts generally decreasing sequentially, which is consistent with our expectation of improved OpEx as conditions slowly normalize.

Our time charter in cost for the quarter was $2.4 million after we redelivered the Astomos Earth during the first quarter. However, we did take delivery of the Astomos Venus during October. On a full quarter basis, which will be for the quarter beginning January 1, 2022, our TC-in expense will increase to approximately $5.4 million. Our total general and administrative costs for the quarter was $9.4 million, and cash G&A, excluding G&A -- or cash G&A, which we define as G&A, excluding noncash compensation expense, was about $8.1 million. Of that $8.1 million, roughly $2.4 million reflected bonuses to named executive officers and several other members of management. Excluding this amount, cash G&A was $5.6 million, which was down about $200,000 from the previous quarter, again, a positive development. Our reported adjusted EBITDA for the quarter was $37.9 million, which included the $3.5 million gain on sale of the Captain Markos. Excluding that gain, the adjusted EBITDA was $34.4 million.

As you know, we look at cash interest expense on our debt as the sum of two line items on our P&L. Interest expense, excluding deferred financing fees and other loan expenses and realized gain/loss on interest rate swap derivatives. On that basis, total cash interest expense for the quarter was $5.5 million, down about $150,000 from the prior quarter. We amortized roughly $1.4 million per year on each of the Captain John and Captain Nicholas. So that's $2.8 million per year together. In addition, if you look at the sum of the cash principal and interest for those two vessels for the period, the 12 months ended September 30, 2021, that amounts to about $4.9 million, which is roughly $600 per fleet day. So the repurchase of these two vessels will have a meaningful impact on our future cost structure. We continue to benefit from our hedging policy and the favorable pricing of our Japanese financings, leaving us with the current interest cost fixed hedged in a small floating piece of 3.67%. And we currently have one vessel in dry dock, and we anticipate total cost of about $1 million for the completion of the services.

Although we currently hold roughly an 80% economic interest in Helios, we do not consolidate its P&L or balance sheet accounts, which has the effect of understating our cash and working capital somewhat. Thus, we believe it's useful to give you some additional insight in order to provide a more complete picture. As of Monday, November 1st, the pool had roughly $21 million of cash on hand. Following the return of over $150 million of shareholder capital through the self tendering dividend, we elected to deploy some cash to debt reduction, but really with a view to fleet optimization, not due to any concern with our leverage position. We still have $27.5 million remaining under our current repurchase authorization. In addition, the three Panamax TCN options, TCNs with purchase options are similarly a reflection of our capital allocation philosophy. By taking advantage of our counterparty's cheaper cost of capital, we were able to conclude three transactions that were both strategic and met our risk-return requirements. We will always be prudent in deploying cash, but our financial position does allow us to act quickly on meaningful opportunities as they may arise, including further opportunities to return cash to shareholders. With that, I'll turn over the call to John Lycouris.

John C. Lycouris -- Chief Executive Officer

Thank you, Ted. This past quarter is the first one during which all 12 scrubber vessels of Dorian LPG fleet were in operation, and they have produced significant savings in fuel costs, while producing emissions measurably below those vessels burning compliant fuels. While visiting one of the scrubber equipped vessels at Freeport, Texas, during loading operations a couple of weeks ago, the gas analyzer of the hybrid scrubber system, which was in operation imported time was recording stock submission of 0.04 sulfur, more than 50% lower than the compliant fuel supplied in the market, which is 0.1 sulfur content. The emission advantages of the scrubbers are not limited to SOx emissions. They also reduce by about 90% carbon and particulate matter emissions that are normally produced by diesel engines and which are harmful to the life and the environment. We continue to average above $105 a ton of fuel for the 2021 calendar year, being the differential between high sulfur fuel oil and low sulfur fuel oil.

For the last quarter, this differential price spread has produced savings advantage of about $3,000 per calendar day for scrubber-fitted vessels. These results validate our original expectations on the payback period, having returned about 40% of the capex as of September 30, 2021, notwithstanding events of the oil markets collapse during the calendar 2020 and that of COVID-19. We are continuing to invest in our vessels' performance and energy efficiency to reduce emissions and lower our operating costs. The main measures currently being considered for our vessels are route optimization and data monitoring software, including data collection and devices on board, energy saving devices installed on our ships that can improve hub performance and power and reduction of our requirements. By capturing and redirecting energy dissipation toward vessel performance and emission improvements with a focus being on doing a better job with the energy we consume, we are currently implementing marine technologies that already exist, which can provide immediate results while buying time into technological innovation and advances mature and become commercially available in the coming years.

An improved environmental footprint is very important to Dorian LPG and following on our scrubber experience, we would be interested to explore marine applications for carbon capture and storage on board our vessels. This technology has been available to the industry, and we now expect it will become viable for marine application within next few years and provide an effective way of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The international marine organization, MEPC 76 and MEPC 77 committees will most likely dictate that the available option for the marine sector will be engine power limitations, energy efficiency technologies and alternative fuels, potentially also carbon capture for the longer term. Our view is that this consideration will accelerate the focus on energy efficiency and would likely force owners to make hard decisions about the cost of investing in the upgrades of all the tonnage to compete in the main trades.

We think it is likely that several owners may conclude it is more economical to scrap all the tonnage, particularly those several generation older with a burden of high fuel consumption and smaller cubic capacity and less modern engines. For vessels that are newer, we believe that investments will be imperative. And therefore, the best capitalized players will access -- with access to reasonably priced capital would be best positioned to make the necessary investments and achieve the requisite returns. Our decision to invest in scrubbers was possible because of our financial strength. And has helped us generate very solid results, which gives us confidence as we look forward and evaluate the next wave in marine technology advancements. At Dorian, we consider that it is our clear goal to continue improving our greenhouse gas footprint, eventually reaching a 0 emissions target, and we are optimistic that our fleet will be among the best position to meet the demand of charters, regulators and shareholders. And now I will pass it over to John Hadjipateras.

John Hadjipateras -- Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President

Thank you very much, and we're happy to take questions from anyone who cares to give us any questions.

Questions and Answers:

Operator

With the prepared remarks completed, we will now open the line for questions. [Operator Instructions] Our first question has come from the line of Omar Nokta with Clarkson Securities.

Omar Nokta -- Clarkson Securities -- Analyst

Hi, thank you. So. John, thanks for the discussion. Lots of good stuff to talk about. I did want to ask about the new buildings. Obviously, you've been a bit more maybe expansive off late. And it's interesting, the time charter-in approach, which is nice. You don't have to put up capital basically. These three latest additions, they come after the new building that you have on order from earlier this year that's financed via the lease or the capital lease. Can you maybe just go over the difference on how both of these deals came together or came about? And can perhaps we think about growth from here, not necessarily there has to be growth, but in general, as you think about expanding the fleet? Is it really the lease charter in type of approach that you want to continue to do going forward?

John Hadjipateras -- Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President

Yes. Omar, it's not -- I wouldn't say that it's -- that we've made a conscious decision to go one way or the other. The new building that we concluded in Japan was actually came together after a very long discussion we'd had and with the shipyard and with potential counterparties there, and she's on a favorable finance arrangement. So that was one thing. But our reluctance to do anything more than that should be viewed as a conservative approach to the new building market. And the charter-in, I think the feature there was opportunistic. I mean we saw well-priced time charters with the option to buy. And we really felt that we were in the opportunity. We could take advantage of that opportunity. The timing is good. And the features of the ships that distinguishes all three of those is that they are Panamax. In other words, that they can transit the old Panama Canal, and we feel quite strongly that, that is a big differentiator going forward.

Omar Nokta -- Clarkson Securities -- Analyst

Okay. And just wanted to double check, just so we understand the trend -- or I can understand the transaction a bit. The initial new building, the Japanese one, that's a lease. These three are charter-ins and as a purchase option, right, along the way, there's no purchase obligation, as I understand it?

John Hadjipateras -- Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President

Correct.

Omar Nokta -- Clarkson Securities -- Analyst

Okay. And then just one follow-up. I did want to ask just clearly the performance during the quarter, at least from my perspective, was quite firm and stronger than anticipated. Quarter-over-quarter, your realized rate was very little different from the prior quarter. However, the spot market, at least from what we were seeing quoted had come off quite a bit. I want to say averages were maybe a TCE of, call it, 33,000 last quarter. And then this last one, it was $25 million. And so you had a pretty big difference in prevailing averages, but your average stayed the same. Any color you can give as to how your performance, I guess, you could have outperformed relative to what we think the market did?

John Hadjipateras -- Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President

I should punt that because it's a difficult question. But maybe I shouldn't punt it because it's a difficult question. No, I think it's -- we have never actually been very focused on quarter-to-quarter. I think it's very difficult. You have -- the quarters are short and voyages are long, and they carry from one into the other. So I don't take great pride and overperforming in one quarter or I don't get terribly nervous about underperforming in another quarter. So time charter-outs are a stable element in the equation but the spot market performance is better to look at it on a rolling average of more than one quarter, that it would include several quarters to get a real indication of a trend, I think.

Omar Nokta -- Clarkson Securities -- Analyst

I understand but it's notable at least that the performance was a bit better than anticipated. I'll leave it at that.

Operator

Thank you. Our next question is come from the line of Brian Reynolds with UBS.

Brian Reynolds -- UBS -- Analyst

Hi, Good morning everyone. Maybe just to follow-up on the time charter announcement with the purchase option. Kind of just curious if you can talk about maybe the thought process around the duration of the announcement. It seems like there's still some hesitancy to fully invest in LPG dual propulsion just given that emerging technologies might occur, as talked about in the prepared remarks. Just kind of curious if you can talk about -- a little bit more about those emerging technologies and how we should think about the tenure of the purchase options and whether we should see more capex spend on emerging technologies, whether it's five to seven years down the road?

John Hadjipateras -- Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President

Yes. I've got just the man to answer that for you but in respect of choosing to do the ships in -- with the dual fuel, it wasn't our choice. The owners made that choice. We chartered them in, the incremental cost to us was nothing. And the cost to the owner for having that feature is very small. I don't know if you can order a ship now, an LPG ship with the -- without a dual feature, dual fuel feature. So it's a whole different discussion to the retrofit discussion, which where the numbers are still very considerable. But in terms of new technology and all this, John has been spending a lot of time on it. And I'm sure -- I think it will be useful to everybody here to kind of review of that.

John C. Lycouris -- Chief Executive Officer

Yes. Brian, we have to consider a number of new technologies. Dual fuel is a good way to go forward, but also the ships that exist need to improve their performance, and we have to look at a number of opportunities and new developments that are coming to the marine sector. First of all, we need to know exactly where the regulation will land and how it will land and what demands are going to be made out of the marine sector. As you may know, the E.U. has different requirements than the IMO. And now we have COP26, which is they're talking about other things. So things have not been handed yet precisely. And once we know what we need to do, we will make the decisions along the way. The capex needs to be within reasonable levels. So we could at least be able to improve all our fleet vessels. It's -- it goes without saying. So I don't know if you have anything in particular you want to ask, but happy to follow up later.

Brian Reynolds -- UBS -- Analyst

I guess, maybe as a quick follow-up on IMO and COP26. Just kind of curious how we should think about what you guys are specifically looking at in terms of carbon emission targets that would trigger an investment one way or the others.

John C. Lycouris -- Chief Executive Officer

Brian, the main point is that we need to reduce our emissions, our CO2 emissions, but also our NOx emissions and our SOx emissions. So we've done that with scrubbers. Scrubbers can be changed and retrofitted in such a way to reduce additional amounts of NOx and CO2. So that's a clear way forward for us. We cannot go to 0 from now. We have to start in steps to improve our emissions. And you have to do it in an effective way. So we -- that's the way we're thinking about it.

Brian Reynolds -- UBS -- Analyst

Great. I appreciate all the color, and that's all from me today.

John Hadjipateras -- Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President

Thanks, Brian.

Operator

[Operator Instructions] Our next question come from the line of Sean Morgan with Evercore ISI.

Sean Morgan -- Evercore ISI -- Analyst

Hi guys. So you kind of closed out the remarks in the prepared remarks. John was talking a lot about the upcoming regulations regarding carbon emissions. And to me, it sort of round a little bit with a lot of what we were hearing just a few years ago on IMO 2020. And kind of looking back at that now, there's a lot of excitement going to IMO 2020 about things such as were discussed on the call, capital restrictions for smaller operators and more levered operators and then some differentiation. And it wasn't just for the LPG sector, but across shipping where stronger operators would benefit. With the benefit in hindsight on IMO 2020, I don't think that it really panned out the level that was kind of trumpeted prior to the implementation. So as we kind of look forward to COP26 and carbon emissions and some of these similar themes that we heard just a few years ago, what makes this different than sort of the last regulatory capital expenditure cycle that we saw at the beginning of 2020.

John C. Lycouris -- Chief Executive Officer

Well, the writing is on the wall, Sean. I mean, one has to think about ways to reduce investments. Whether it's going to be this way or the other way, we have to be prepared. We have to look at the technologies and add new ways of improving our performance and our emissions. And what we have focused on anything that is available. We have looked at storage cells, we have booked at batteries. We are looking at carbon capture. We're looking at modifying our scrubbers. There's a number of things on the table that I don't think it's a golden -- a silver bullish here. It is a combination of a number of things that ships will have to do and implement, be able to improve their performance in respect of emissions, and that's that?

Sean Morgan -- Evercore ISI -- Analyst

Yes. So I mean, I guess, from the perspective of the operators like yourself, I mean there's definitely -- something you have to really focus on and it's something that could go wrong. But from the perspective of shareholders, is there like an upside, I guess, golden scenario that they can kind of look for, kind of similar to what was promised in IMO 2020? Or it just -- you guys are talking about because it's an important operational decision that you kind of have to get right.

John C. Lycouris -- Chief Executive Officer

I think it's the latter. It's an important decision that we have to make. It's an environmental decision. We are all committed to do the best we can.

John Hadjipateras -- Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President

Yes, John, also, I want to add that I consider all this to be an investment opportunity. I mean we are looking at that as an opportunity, not only as an obligation. So we don't -- we haven't -- some of our competitors have invested in battery units and other things. We are invested internally, mostly in optimization so far. But I look at this whole environmental pressure, less as a pressure on us and more as an opportunity to make a contribution. And hopefully, to give a better return to our shareholders as a result. And so far, the efforts to reduce emissions are resulting in fuel economies, as I said in my message. So it's the same thing actually. Less emissions comes with less fuel consumption.

Sean Morgan -- Evercore ISI -- Analyst

Right. I think you said there was $2 million of savings on the fuel consumption. Is that mostly slow steaming? Or is that specific technologies you're employing?

John Hadjipateras -- Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President

This is not from slow steaming, no. This is from optimization and then better planning of hull cleanliness. It's a direct result of having better feedback of the operational conditions of the ships so that we can decide when to clean a hull or a propeller or better weather routing services. It's really all technology delivered savings.

Sean Morgan -- Evercore ISI -- Analyst

Okay. Wow. So it sounds like a confluence of a lot of different factors optimizing together. Alright. That's all I have.

John Hadjipateras -- Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President

Thanks, Sean.

Operator

There are no further questions at this time. I would like to turn the call back over to John Hadjipateras for any closing remarks.

John Hadjipateras -- Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President

Thank you all very much, and I hope you have a good fall and winter and stay safe and see you next time.

Operator

[Operator Closing Remarks]

Duration: 44 minutes

Call participants:

Theodore B. Young -- Chief Financial Officer

John Hadjipateras -- Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President

Tim Hansen -- Chief Commercial Officer/Director

John C. Lycouris -- Chief Executive Officer

Omar Nokta -- Clarkson Securities -- Analyst

Brian Reynolds -- UBS -- Analyst

Sean Morgan -- Evercore ISI -- Analyst

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