Tankers Riding the “Wave” of Ton-Mile Demand Hikes
According to Intermodal’s Chara Georgousi, Research Analyst, “in the crude sector, flows from the US to Europe are set to hit a near 3-year high in September, while crude inventories in ARA region are now surpassing 95% of the region’s storage. A total of 48 tankers are expected to deliver at least 42.4m barrels in September, with tally likely to be revised at the end of the month. China’s crude imports rebound in August to reach 8.34m tons from 7.15m tons in July, facing tailwinds from refiners restocking activities ahead of the peak autumn season. Russia’s crude flows during the 1H of September have fallen sharply due to a drop in ESPO shipments following Hinnamnor typhoon, paired with a drop in shipments from Baltic. Europe’s current imports of Russian oil currently stand below 300,000 b/d, 75% lower than pre-invasion levels. In the meantime, flows to three major importers, China, India, and Turkey have stalled since mid-August, standing at 460,000 b/d. Overall, Russian oil shipments are almost 50% lower since March and are estimated to come under more pressure following the sanctions’ full effect”.
Intermodal’s analyst added that “in the product sector, European imports from the Middle East are set to hit a 3-year high in September, amid the bloc’s effort to restock ahead of the winter season. European countries are diversifying their energy suppliers and turn to rival suppliers from the Middle East to substitute their seaborne Russian fuel imports. A total of 2.99m tons of middle distillates are set to arrive in Europe from MEG during September. Middle Eastern diesel/gasoil imports will soar to 31% of the bloc’s total imports, during the month of September, versus avg.19% during the previous 12 months. Meanwhile, diesel/gasoil inventories in ARA region have plunged to a 14-year low. European oil products exports to the US are set to fall in September, on the back of lower gasoline exports. A total of 1.77m tons are estimated to reach US East Coast versus 2.59m tons in August. China is set to allow its oil refiners to export more fuel, in an effort to boost the country’s economy. The increase in export quota refers to an extra 15m tons of refined products, including gasoline and diesel, which will increase this year’s total exports to 39m tons, compared to 38.6m tons a year ago”.
Ms. Georgousi added that “while tanker rates have been soaring during the past months, generating high profits for the owners, sentiment in the tanker market remains extremely bullish. China will need to source extra crude in the coming months and the US could be a perfect supplier under a widening WTI-Dubai spread. VLCC tonne-miles are expected to increase, while product tankers’ earnings will be supported by increased Chinese product exports under the quota. Meanwhile, a peak of weather disruptions amid the ongoing US hurricane season could lead to vessel delays in the Atlantic basket and refinery outages on the US East Coast, providing further support to the product tanker market”, she concluded.
Nikos Roussanoglou, Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide