North Sea Tanker Markets are Lowest in One Year

Wednesday, May 30, 2001
North Sea tanker markets have tumbled further in the last few days to levels not seen in over a year, brokers said on Wednesday.

"The Aframaxes (80,000 tons) are definitely in trouble," said a London broker. "The last (fixture) seen was at W120 ($0.64 per barrel), but I think even that's a bit generous. It's hard to judge as there's nothing being done."

Oslo brokers said that Laguna had fixed a ship for an 80,000 ton cargo from Ventspils to northern Europe at W117.5 ($0.90), while London's Baltic Exchange downrated its assessment of the trade by 12 points on Wednesday to W121 ($0.93).

"There's just no demand," said the London broker, "and the position lists are getting longer and longer."

One million-barrel ship was fixed from Mongstad to Quebec by Ultramar at a very promising W120 ($1.10 per barrel), seven points up on fixtures done on Friday.

But brokers said this was misleading and the transatlantic market was much lower.

Ultramar had paid above the odds, said one, because the loading date was extremely prompt and because of difficulties associated with unloading at Quebec.

He said that owners had put in offers at W120 for an Exxon cargo from Mongstad to the U.S. Gulf, and Exxon was likely to conclude the deal in the region of W110 ($1.01 per barrel).

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