Rates for tankers to carry crude cargoes from the North Sea to Europe have
nearly doubled over the last 48 hours to levels not seen since April, brokers said on Thursday. "Shell fixed one tanker at W175 this afternoon, and there are a few still negotiating nearer to W200 ($1.07 per barrel)," said a London broker. He said the market opened at just over W110 on Wednesday.
"There are still cargoes for the end of this month. Charterers have left it a bit late and are getting edgy, and owners have sensed that," said another. One owner said early on Thursday that he had received as many as eight offers of North Sea cargoes for a ship that was available between August 25 and August 31 and would be holding out for a very firm rate. Brokers said U.S. operator Teekay (TK)
had been advertising an available Aframax (70-80,000 tons) at W162.5 in the morning, compared to a "last-done" rate of W150.
London's Baltic Exchange pegged the benchmark North Sea route
from Sullom Voe to Wilhelmshaven at W168 on Thursday evening, compared to W114 on Wednesday. Tanker owners have fought back in several other markets, making significant gains for prompt loading dates in the Mideast Gulf
and West Africa
. - (Reuters)