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Outdated supertankers are becoming the storage units of choice for commodity traders looking to take maximum advantage of the new oil price crater, according to a new report by Reuters.
Brokers who spoke to Reuters said roughly 10 very large crude carriers (VLCCs) aged between 16 to 20 years have been employed as excess crude storage since the end of last month. Each unit holds 2 million barrels of oil.
Thirty other supertankers are parked in Singapore and Malaysia’s Linggi, largely due to a market condition called contango – where oil futures are more expensive than an order for immediate delivery.
"It makes a lot of sense for a trader to pay $16,000-$19,000 per day to take an older VLCC for 30-90 days to store oil," said a Singapore-based supertanker broker, who chose to remain anonymous.
Data released by Kpler, an energy data provider, shows that total global floating storage reached 102 million barrels in the past ten days. Speaking with Oilprice today, Kpler’s Francois Cazor said that “Oil floating storage is at its peak for 2017.”
In Q1 and early Q2 2017, floating storage had declined from 100 million barrels to 72 million barrels as oil prices inched upwards due to OPEC’s production deal, according to Kpler data.
The bloc agreed to extend its 1.2 million bpd cut through March 2018, but at this point, all price gains have been erased from new production in Libya, Nigeria, Iraq and the United States. Saudi Arabia, the de-facto leader of OPEC, began a policy of lowering exports to the United States and Asia at the beginning of this month to force inventories to go down. The U.S. began importing crude from Iraq to dodge the maneuver and shale producers continued cheap production and exports.
By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com
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Zainab Calcuttawala is an American journalist based in Morocco. She completed her undergraduate coursework at the University of Texas at Austin (Hook’em) and reports on…