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Oil Trader Trafigura Exits Crude Tanker Ownership…For Now

Oil tanker at sea

One of the world’s largest independent oil and commodity traders, Trafigura, has sold five medium-range oil tankers to a Chinese bank, which marks Trafigura’s exit from owning product tankers—at least for now.

Trafigura will lease back the tankers with capacity of 50,000 metric tons each from China’s Bank of Communications Financial Leasing Co, Bloomberg reported on Friday, quoting an e-mailed statement from the oil trader.

“The sale and lease back concludes an entry and exit for now in owning product tankers for Trafigura,” Global Head of wet freight, Rasmus Bach Nielsen, said.

“While we have a significantly growing cargo program, it is not a must for us to also own the steel,” the manager noted.

Trafigura seized an opportunity to sell vessels that it had bought at low entry levels, according to Nielsen.

Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg reckon that global rental rates for oil tankers would drop by 25 percent this year and by another 11 percent next year, after having hit high levels last year.

Trading in oil was especially strong for Trafigura in the first half of its financial year ended March 31, 2016. Volume handled daily exceeded 4 million barrels for the first time in the company’s history. That volume was 46 percent higher than the one handled in the first half of the previous fiscal year.

Earlier this year, Iran started shipping first oil to China’s small independent refineries, the so-called teapots, and it was Trafigura that had bought the cargo from the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC).

And earlier this week, Trafigura was shipping a cargo of 375,000 barrels of Chinese gasoline to the U.S. East Coast, where a jump in fuel prices has apparently created the perfect environment for the Asian nation to try and ease its own fuel glut.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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