BW LNG managing director Yngvil Åsheim says a seafaring career offers responsibility, independence and leadership challenges in an international business
As managing director of BW LNG, Yngvil Åsheim’s passion for her job and the maritime industry is evident. But as she told LNG World Shipping, when she thinks back to when she graduated high school, her career path was not certain.
She considered becoming a journalist, doctor, engineer and economist. It was “rather a coincidence” that she ended up studying marine engineering at Norway’s technical university NTNU.
“But it took me only a few weeks to realise that it was a perfect match and that the maritime industry offered so many exciting opportunities that it would keep me engaged and challenged for the foreseeable future”, said Ms Åsheim.
Two things in particular excited her about a maritime career. One was a “fascination of the ocean – its force, its diversity and how it not only feeds people, but has brought us together since time immemorial”, she said.
The other is that the maritime industry in general and shipping in particular is so connected to the world’s economy. “Working in shipping, I feel the world’s pulse every day”, said Ms Åsheim. A shipping career offered her a profession where she could explore the world beyond the borders of her home country Norway.
One of her first influences was a professor at NTNU who encouraged her to sail on ships. “My professor at the university gently pushed me out of my comfort zone and made sure I did not end up with only theoretical knowledge”, she said. “My first sailing experience on an OBO carrier was career-shaping and determined how I wanted to grow professionally”. Ms Åsheim said there were also several bosses along the way that “believed in me, challenged me and coached me”.
After graduating with a Master of Science in Marine Engineering from NTNU, Ms Åsheim started her career at DNV as a surveyor in 1993 and held various positions within the classification society.
In 2002, she joined Höegh Fleet Services as a fleet manager and one year later was promoted to president, responsible for all ship management activities for the Höegh Group. Subsequently, she was appointed as executive vice president of Höegh Autoliners responsible for global operations and ship management.
Now as managing director of BW LNG, she oversees one of the biggest LNG shipping companies in the world, with 24 LNG carriers and three floating storage regasification units (FSRUs).
Ms Åsheim was responsible for BW’s move into LNG infrastructure projects. At a recent conference, Ms Åsheim called the FSRU a “good tool in the tool box but it is not the answer to every need”.
A key component of Pakistan’s energy infrastructure is the FSRU BW Integrity, with a storage capacity of 170,000 m3 and peak regasification capacity of 750M ft3 per day (mmscfd). It operates at Port Qasim as part of Pakistan’s second LNG receiving facility, owned and operated by Pakistan GasPort Consortium Limited.
Pakistan began importing LNG in 2015 and supported by government clean energy policies is steadily increasing the amount of natural gas it uses for power generation. By 2020, Pakistan is expected to import 30M tonnes of LNG.
BW LNG employs its own officers and crew for its ships, maintaining a large pool of candidates with relevant gas experience. It has a 32-member crew manning BW Integrity.
With a strong emphasis on the importance and value of women in the professional ranks in the maritime industry this year, LNG World Shipping asked Ms Åsheim, What advice would she offer to a young woman thinking about a career in shipping?
“Go for it”, she said. “The ocean space and the maritime industry is only going to be more exciting as the world looks for solutions to our global challenges”.
For anyone considering a seafaring career, Ms Åsheim said it can offer a young person “responsibility, independence and leadership challenges in an international business. I think that by far the biggest challenge is finding a way to combine family and a career at sea”. She said on the bright side, a seafaring career does offer opportunities to spend long periods of time at home. The downside is that “being on the seven seas during a large part of the year requires some careful thinking if you want to start a family. Technology now makes it possible to keep in touch, but you are still not there physically.”
Managing director of BW LNG, Yngvil Åsheim joined BW nine years ago as managing director for BW Fleet Management and became managing director for BW Shipping in October 2013; and managing director for BW LNG in November 2015.
She holds a Master of Science in marine engineering from the Norwegian Institute of Technology. She started her career at DNV as a surveyor in 1993 and held various positions within the classification society.
In 2002, she joined Höegh Fleet Services as a fleet manager. After a year, she was promoted to president, responsible for all ship management activities for the Höegh Group. Subsequently, she was appointed as executive vice president of Höegh Autoliners responsible for global operation and ship management.
Ms Åsheim has also held several board positions and is currently a director of insurer Gard P&I (Bermuda) Ltd.