Tanker markets around the world soared this week, led by the North Sea market
where rates swelled by nearly a third as supply dried up for end-month loading dates.
Brokers said Vitol paid W160 ($0.85 per barrel) for the 80,000 tonner Moscow River loading
from Teeside on July 26, compared to W125 at the start of the week and W95 a month ago.
"There's been pressure for the end of month positions, which we'd kind of anticipated," said a London broker. "A few ships have moved out of the area tipping the supply-demand balance in favour of ship owners."
Most of the smaller tankers were
heading to northern Europe
, but the larger sizes started to see some transatlantic activity this week.
A raft of transatlantic fixtures pushed million-barrel rates past the W110 mark ($1.13 per barrel) and VLCC rates to W55 for U.S.Gulf discharge.
This week's rate explosion was sparked in the million-barrel market by news that Iraq had resumed crude exports.
The Mediterranean market
, which is highly dependent on Iraqi cargoes
, clawed back some of its recent losses to pass the W100 ($0.56 per barrel) mark and the West African market followed close behind.
Brokers said on Thursday it had punched through the W110 ceiling ($1.45 per barrel) for million-barrel transatlantic voyages, compared to W70 at the start of the month.
VLCC gains were less dramatic, but nevertheless the mood was positive. "They're all moving on up," said a London broker. "The VLCCs are inching forward."
He pointed to a westbound fixture by Chevron (CVX)
at W50 ($1.41 per barrel) as a sign of things to come. "It's a bit of a landmark," he said.
Eastbound fixtures were being concluded at much the same rate for Japan discharge
, equating to $0.85 per barrel.
Shorter haul destinations, such as Taiwan
and Jamnagar were being done at W52.5, equating to about $0.50 per barrel.