Fearnley Securities is expecting a gradual improvement in tanker rates this year, but two "X factors" could potentially drive big jumps in earnings.

In its look ahead to the year, the Norwegian investment bank said a potential new deal on Iran's nuclear programme and a global energy crunch could be major influences on the sector.

"2021 was a fantastic year for shipping markets and equities alike," analysts Peder Nicolai Jarlsby, Erik Gabriel Hovi and Ulrik Mannhart said.