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Mon 15 Nov 2010 11:03 PM

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Supertanker rates are little changed on ample supply of vessels

Daily returns from suezmax tankers that haul 1 million barrel cargoes, surged 48%

Supertanker rates are little changed on ample supply of vessels
OPEC will increase crude loadings this month, with Middle East and West African producers shipping more to Asia (Getty Images)

The cost of shipping Middle East crude oil to Asia, the world’s busiest supertanker route, was little changed amid an ample supply of vessels.

Charter rates for very large crude carriers, or VLCCs, on the industry’s benchmark Saudi Arabia to Japan route slipped 0.03 point to 62.85 worldscale points, according to the London based Baltic Exchange. Earnings from the voyage gained 3.7 percent to $19,786 a day after plunging last week by the most in five weeks.

“Although the vessel supply of VLCCs is likely to keep rates at bay also this week, the products shortage in China should be a catalyst for increased eastbound cargoes,” Martin Sommerseth Jaer and Erik Nikolai Stavseth, analysts with Arctic Securities ASA in Oslo, said in a note today.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will increase crude loadings this month, with Middle East and West African producers shipping more to Asia, tanker tracker Oil Movements said on November 11.

Shipments will rise to 23.55 million barrels a day in the four weeks to November 27, compared with 23.28 million barrels in the four weeks to October 30, the Halifax, England based consultant said. The data exclude Ecuador and Angola.

Worldscale points are a percentage of a nominal rate, or flat rate, for more than 320,000 specific routes. Flat rates for every voyage, quoted in US dollars a ton, are revised annually by the Worldscale Association in London to reflect changing fuel costs, port tariffs and exchange rates.

Each flat rate assessment gives owners and oil companies a starting point for negotiating hire rates without having to calculate the value of each deal from scratch.

Daily returns from suezmax tankers that haul 1 million barrel cargoes, half as much as VLCCs, surged 48 percent to $30,648 after more than doubling on November 12, according to the Baltic Exchange. Returns from aframaxes that carry 650,000 barrels gained 11 percent to $4,336.

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