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The International Association of Independent Tanker Owners (Intertanko), the largest trade group in the industry, has stated that oil tanker owners have lost the most money in four decades in recent years as day rates plummet due to a glut of supply over demand. Crews and ships are now under threat as many companies struggle to stay afloat.
It has been estimated that the market will recover in about four years, but by that time there could be very few tanker companies left.
Intertanko claim that tanker owners have lost around $27 billion since 2009, and Clarkson Plc of London, the world’s largest shipbroker, has stated that daily rates for the largest tankers has fallen 68 percent in the last year alone.
Clarkson’s figures suggest that very large crude carriers, capable of holding 2 million barrels of oil, now only command $10,674 a day, less than half the $24,200 a day that John Fredriksen’s Frontline stated in February was needed just to breakeven.
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At the end of 2011 General Maritime Corp. was forced to file for bankruptcy protection, and then in 2012 Overseas Shipholding Group Inc., the largest tanker owner in the US, followed suit.
Problems are not expected to let up for some years as the growth in tanker capacity continues to exceed the growth in demand for the foreseeable future. In 2013 the IEA predicts that oil demand will grow by 0.9 percent, whilst Clarkson expect tanker capacity to increase by 7.8% over the same period.
Katharina Stanzel, the managing director of intertanko, told Bloomberg that “the biggest risk I see is that we will have nobody left to actually make the deliveries.”
By. Joao Peixe of Oilprice.com
Joao is a writer for Oilprice.com