Monday, September 12, 2011

Oil Tankers to Lose Money on Saudi - U.S. Route Through 2012

The U.S. is importing the smallest amount of Persian Gulf crude in 14 years as demand weakens and domestic production climbs, signaling that tankers on the route will lose money for at least another year.

The world’s biggest oil consumer bought 1.7 million barrels a day from Saudi Arabia and six other Persian Gulf states in the first half, the least since 1997, according to the latest Department of Energy data. Daily U.S. output averaged 5.58 million barrels, the most since 2004, the data show. Some owners have paid clients to charter their tankers on the route since March and will probably have to keep doing so until at least the end of 2012, Arctic Securities ASA in Oslo estimates.

The U.S. is boosting output of oil, shale gas and ethanol as President Barack Obama seeks to cut the nation’s dependence on foreign fuel. Fewer cargoes from the Middle East to the U.S., the world’s second-biggest tanker route, mean an expanding vessel glut. There are about 25 percent more supertankers than cargoes available in the Persian Gulf, the most since October, according to Bloomberg surveys of shipbrokers and owners.

“The U.S. is awash with domestic oil and increasingly divorced and less reliant on foreign imports,” said Andreas Vergottis, the research director at Tufton Oceanic Ltd. in Hong Kong, which manages the world’s largest shipping hedge fund. “Not only is end use of oil shrinking, but domestic production of crude oil is rising rapidly”......Read the entire article.

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