March 24, 2023

Athens News

News in English from Greece

Fight for oil tankers

The US plans to export record volumes of crude oil to Europe this March. But … there is a catastrophic shortage of tankers, and they are forced to use larger vessels for this.

How writes Bloomberg, only supertankers are left to transport oil from the US to Europe, as medium-sized vessels are now in short supply due to the transport of Russian oil to Asia.

A total of 11 VLCCs (Very Large Crude Carriers) and 16 medium-sized Suezmax vessels are due to arrive in Europe from the US this month. They account for approximately 60% of the crude oil transported along this route, compared to 37% a year ago. Supertankers can transport about two million barrels of oil, Suezmax – about one million.

As a rule, for flights across the Atlantic, tankers with a lower carrying capacity – Aframaxes (with a capacity of about 700 thousand barrels) are used, since in Europe only a few ports are able to accept supertankers. But now they are in short supply as traders increasingly charter them to ship Russian oil to Asia. Major importers, China and India, are ramping up shipments as Western buyers back out of shipments due to sanctions on Moscow.

Hiring supertankers is getting cheaper as a result, Kpler analysts say. The cost per shipment is about $2.7 per barrel versus $8.5 per barrel for Aframax on the same route.

Earlier it was reported about the appearance of a fleet of “mysterious tankers” ready to help export Russian oil. Experts say that the size of such a fleet is about 600 vessels, which is about 10% of all large tankers in the world.

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