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13 Million Barrels Of Oil Could Be Affected By Suez Canal Blockage

As many as 10 crude tankers carrying around 13 million barrels of oil could be affected by the disrupted traffic in the Suez Canal, which was blocked early on Wednesday when a huge container ship ran aground, oil analytics firm Vortexa said.

The approximate rate of backlog is around 50 vessels per day, and any delays leading to re-routings will add 15 days to a voyage between the Middle East and Europe, Vortexa noted.  

Some 12 percent of global trade, and about 9 percent of total seaborne traded petroleum, including crude oil and refined petroleum products, passes through the Suez Canal and SUMED Pipeline, according to EIA estimates.

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The top three exporters of crude oil and oil products via the Suez Canal so far in 2021 were Russia with 546,000 barrels per day (bpd), Saudi Arabia with 410,000 bpd, and Iraq with 400,000 bpd, according to Vortexa.

The top three importers of crude and petroleum products year to date were India with 490,000 bpd, China with 420,000 bpd, and South Korea with 380,000 bpd.  

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“If tankers start diverting towards the Cape, any increase in tonne-miles will increase tanker utilisation and support rising freight rates in the short-term,” Vortexa said.

The 400-meter (1,312-foot-long) container ship Ever Given, which is basically a ship the size of a skyscraper, ran aground in the Suez Canal and remained stuck sideways in the narrowest path of the canal, leaving other ships and tankers—both north- and south-bound—unable to pass.

The traffic blockage at one of the busiest oil trade routes sent oil prices rising early on Wednesday, after another massive sell-off on Tuesday.

Just before the EIA weekly inventory report on Wednesday, both benchmarks were rising by more than 3 percent, with WTI Crude nearly back to $60 and Brent Crude prices up at $62.75.  

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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  • George Doolittle on March 25 2021 said:
    I thought there were 2 Suez Canals now?

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