Increasingly lower oil demand in the U.S. prompts tankship operators to look towards the China market.
According to a BIMCO review, the tanker market is doing full steam ahead – not in relation to demand, earnings or actual operating speed, but in relation to structural demand changes in the West. At the epicentre of this is the world’s most thirsty oil consumer: the U.S.
Not to be missed by anyone, the U.S. oil demand recorded a 16-year low in 2012. In 2005, the U.S. consumed 20.8 million of barrels per day (m/bpd), in the same year the domestic oil production stood at 5.2 m/bpd. Today 18.6 m/bpd is consumed, 6.5 m/bpd is produced and imports of Canadian oil are the growth story.
Coincidentally with a lower and lower oil demand in the U.S., the U.S. domestic production of crude oil knows only one way. In excess of 0.5 million barrels a day more is produced domestically over the past year as compared to the previous year. This has left inventories swollen and the surplus has put downward pressure on current WTI and Brent prices as well as on the forward curve for oil prices.
BIMCO suggests that eyes turn to the new thirsty kid in the class, China. Since China is building refinery on a really large scale, import of crude oil is very relevant to focus on.