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Saturday, March 17, 2018

Large Buyer News

Russian Grain Exporters Resume Trade with Turkey

Russian grain exporters have resumed deals with Turkish buyers after a short break caused by a deterioration in relations between the two countries, traders and analysts said. Russia, one of the world's largest wheat exporters, and Turkey, one of the biggest buyers of Russian wheat, have been locked in a dispute since Turkey shot down a Russian warplane near the Syrian-Turkish border in late November. For several weeks after that, Russian and Turkish traders held back from signing new contracts, fearing Moscow could suspend grain exports to Turkey or Ankara could curb purchases, the traders and analysts said. But no such measures have been imposed and business has returned to normal, they added.

International Seaways Updates on VLCC Acquisition and MR Vessel Sales

Image: International Seaways

International Seaways, one of the largest tanker companies worldwide, said it acquired a 2010-built VLCC for $53 million, the Seaways Raffles, which commenced trading in the Tankers International pool, during the fourth quarter of 2017. During the fourth quarter, the company, which provides energy transportation services for crude oil and petroleum products in International Flag markets,  sold a 2004-built MR, which was delivered to buyers in November 2017. The Company also sold a 2002-built MR…

Sovcomflot Launches LNG-Powered Ships

Photo: PAO Sovcomflot

Russia’s biggest tanker operator will launch four new vessels in 2018 that will run on liquefied natural gas (LNG), Bloomberg reported. Sovcomflot’s Aframax ships, capable of carrying 600,000 barrels of oil through the Baltic Sea to the port of Rotterdam, will be the first tankers run on LNG. Royal Dutch Shell Plc and other energy companies that have invested more than $700 billion in LNG projects over the past decade are going to be benefitted by this project. While ships won’t transform the market,  Energy Aspects Ltd.

West Africa's August Crude Exports to Asia to Slip

West African crude oil exports to Asia were expected to fall to 1.84 million barrels per day (bpd) in August, Reuters data and a survey of traders showed. Slower buying by Indian independent refiners such as Reliance was the primary factor behind the overall decline of 13 percent from July, highlighting the fickle nature of buyers in an oversupplied market. Indian refiners have used the steep drop in crude prices and ample global availability as an opportunity to expand their crude slates and experiment with new grades, traders said. "India, and Reliance in particular, took fewer West African (cargoes)," one trader said. Reliance booked as few as two cargoes for August loading, compared to at least seven for July loading.

World’s Biggest LNG Buyer Becomes Seller

Photo:  JERA Co., Inc.

EDF Trading, a wholly-owned subsidiary of French power giant EDF, has signed an LNG sales and purchase agreement with Japanese LNG aggregator Jera Co Inc, one of the world’s largest buyers of liquefied natural gas. Jera, a joint venture between Tokyo Electric Power Co. and Chubu Electric Power Co., will sell as much as 1.5 million metric tons of LNG between June 2018 and December 2020. According to Bloomberg, Jera’s debut as a seller to Europe underscores how the oversupplied market has challenged traditional exporters…

China Stops Issuing Import Permits for US Distillers Grains

China has stopped issuing permits for imports of distillers dried grains (DDGs) from top exporter the United States on concerns they might contain an unapproved genetically-modified organism (GMO), traders said, sending U.S. prices tumbling. Quarantine authorities have also asked buyers to re-export earlier shipments that contained MIR 162, a GMO strain developed by Syngenta AG that has not been approved for import by China's agriculture ministry. Qingdao, China's largest port for DDGs, stopped issuing new permits for shipments last month to any buyers who had still not shipped out any cargoes previously denied entry by quarantine authorities. "Now it is countrywide. Quarantine authorities stopped issuing import permits last Friday," said one trading manager with a major buyer.

Japan in Race for Asian LNG Hub

Photo: LNG Japan Corporation

Japan, the world’s largest buyer of liquefied natural gas is aiming to establish an international liquefied natural gas (LNG)  trading hub by the early 2020s, according to a statement by Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) . In an attempt to play a role in creating a global LNG market, Japan will open access to receiving terminal and beef up large-scale LNG storage facilities to make active LNG trading possible. Many Japanese utilities are planning for not only marginal increases in LNG purchases over the next decade but also a growing sphere of LNG activities.

Importers Buy U.S. Corn at Record Pace

Dry bulk barges underway on U.S. waterways (Credit: AWO)

Importers are buying U.S. corn at the fastest pace since the mid-1990s, according to U.S. government data, as tightening stocks in Latin America prompt a rush to purchase cargoes of the grain from animal feeders worldwide. A deepening drought in Argentina and limited corn supplies in Brazil, two of the three largest exporters, have opened a window of opportunity for top supplier the United States, which has the largest available surplus for export. The shopping spree comes as a rare bit of good news for U.S.

S. Korea Boosting Condensate Imports from Iran

South Korea, Asia's largest buyer of condensate, will step up purchases of the ultra light oil from Iran by more than 50 percent in June, two sources said, as competitive pricing squeezes out rival oil from Qatar. Expected June shipments of condensate from Iran may reach at least six million barrels, or 200,000 barrels per day (bpd), said the sources. This would be a record level of imports, four times that in January when sanctions on Tehran were lifted, according to data from Korea National Oil Corp. In contrast, condensate imports from Qatar in April have fallen to 5.32 million barrels, down 19 percent from January, KNOC data showed.

GS Caltex Buys Rare West African Crude Cargo

GS Caltex to buy 920,000 barrels of West African crude; first West African shipment in almost a year. South Korea's GS Caltex Corp is set to receive its first shipment of West African crude in almost a year as the country looks to diversify supply away from the Middle East. The purchase will help soak up a glut of supply among West African producers, who have been hit as the U.S. shale oil boom curbs demand in what was once their main market and as OPEC Gulf states boost supply. Middle Eastern producers have raised their selling prices to Asia in recent months following solid demand in that region, prompting some buyers to try to broaden their sources of supply, with GS Caltex already turning to Mexico for crude.

Indian LNG Import Tax Halved

Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. Photo: PIB, Govt of India

India, the world’s fourth-largest buyer of liquefied natural gas (LNG), has announced plans to halve its basic customs duty on imports of the chilled fuel. Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presenting the Budget for 2017-18 in Parliament halved the import duty on LNG to 2.5 per cent, a move that will help cut cost of power and fertiliser production. "Considering the wide range of use of LNG as fuel as well as feed stock for petro-chemicals sector, I propose to reduce the basic customs duty on LNG from 5 per cent to 2.5 per cent," he said.

S.Korea Backs US Shale Gas Imports, Investment

South Korea stepped up a push on Friday to encourage its oil and gas companies to invest in U.S. shale gas projects, amid expectations that more opportunities will arise under a Trump administration. Asia's fourth-largest economy is the world's second-largest buyer of liquefied natural gas (LNG) after Japan, importing about 30 million tonnes a year through state-run Korea Gas Corp (KOGAS). In a meeting with the heads of Korean gas companies, energy minister Joo Hyung-hwan stressed the need to strengthen bilateral cooperation in the gas sector, with the first Korean imports of U.S. shale gas due to start next year, according to the ministry statement.

Rosneft Ships First Oil From Chayvo Field

First tanker carrying Sokol-grade crude leaving port on November 21.

Rosneft commenced shipment of crude oil extracted at the Northern Tip of Chayvo license off the coast of Sakhalin, with the first tanker carrying Sokol-grade crude leaving port on November 21. The tanker was loaded at the Sokol single-point oil terminal located 5.7 km east of DeKastri Terminal, Khabarovsk Krai. DeKastri is the first terminal in Russia to ship crude oil year round amid the harsh environment of the Arctic. Another export batch is scheduled to ship before the year’s end.

Shell: LNG Supply Shortage Possible as Demand Surges

File Image: Harvey-Gulf's (Q-LNG) future ATB LNG bunker vessel involves a charter with Shell. IMAGE: HGIM

The global liquefied natural gas (LNG) market has continued to defy expectations of many market observers, with demand growing by 29 million tonnes to 293 million tonnes in 2017, according to Shell’s annual LNG Outlook. Such strong growth in demand is consistent with Shell’s first LNG Outlook, published in 2017. Based on current demand projections, Shell sees potential for a supply shortage developing in mid-2020s, unless new LNG production project commitments are made soon. Japan remained the world’s largest LNG importer in 2017…

Noble Group To Sell Ship For $24 Million

Image: Noble Group

Struggling commodity trader Noble Group Ltd said it would sell to Bianca Corp a Kamsarmax dry bulk carrier for $24 million in cash. The Hong Kong registered ship has a capacity of 81,499 deadweight tons. Built in 2015, the vessel, Ocean Integrity, is employed to service external customers as well as Noble Group's internal freight requirements. "The consideration for the Proposed Disposal shall be US$24 million payable on completion of the Proposed Disposal and will be satisfied in cash.

HSH Nordbank Sold to Buyout groups Cerberus, Flowers

Germany's HSH Nordbank, formerly the world's largest ship financier, is being sold to private equity firms as it emerges from crippling writedowns and state bailouts amid the deepest sector slump on record. The bank's state owners on Wednesday said that they sealed the sale to a consortium of buyout groups Cerberus and J.C. Flowers, with investors Goldentree, Centaurus and Austrian bank BAWAG also taking stakes. The purchase price for 94.9 percent of HSH is roughly 1 billion euros ($1.22 billion), they said.

Shale Growth could Overwhelm U.S. Refiners, Fuel Exports

File Image (CREDIT: AdobeStock / (c) Leeylutung)

Rising U.S. shale oil production will overwhelm the nation's refining capacity, with three-quarters of the additional oil produced in the United States by 2023 shipped to Europe and Asia, according to a new study by consultancy Wood Mackenzie. The research points to the continued impact of U.S. shale on global markets and the mismatch between domestic refining capacity and rising crude output. The oil could bottleneck at U.S. Gulf Coast ports unless new infrastructure is built, researchers said. U.S.

Diana Containerships Sells Two Panamaxes

Diana Containerships Inc. said it has signed, through two separate wholly-owned subsidiaries, two Memoranda of Agreement to sell Panamax containerships m/v Sagitta and the m/v Centaurus for $12.3 million each.   The 2010-built vessels are scheduled to be delivered to the buyer, an unaffiliated third party, by April 27, 2018.    With the sale, Diana Containerships Inc.’s fleet will consist of six container vessels, including four Post-Panamax and tow Panamax vessels.

Chemoil joins OceanConnect

OceanConnect has attracted the largest independent fuel supplier as a new equity partner. OceanConnect President Thomas Reilly announced that Chemoil Corporation has acquired an equity stake and is using OceanConnect as its exclusive online system for buying and selling fuels. Chemoil Group is the world's largest independent fuel supplier, selling over 12 million tons of fuel annually through complete bunkering services in the ports of Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, New Orleans, New York, Antwerp, Rotterdam and Singapore. "OceanConnect's traditional brokers provide the information and reliability that's vital in the marine industry, while their unique technology finds the best possible deal for buyers and suppliers alike.

LNG Shipping Under Threat from Cargo Diversions

Graph: Drewry  LNG Forecaster report

If Asian buyers continue to divert their contracted supply from the US towards Europe and Latin America, it will reduce demand for LNG vessels in the long term by cutting down on long-haul trade, according to the latest edition of the LNG Forecaster report published by global shipping consultancy Drewry. Drewry has been maintaining a bullish long-term outlook for LNG shipping for quite some time and expects rates to improve substantially from 2018 onwards. One of the major reasons for this outlook is the expansion in US LNG supply.

European Owners Lead in Buying Up Secondhand Tonnage

Graph: Clarkson Research Services

With European owners leading the pack in buying up vessels, the sale and purchase market appears to have been notably active in recent years, reveals Clarkson Research Services Limited. While Europe has been the main buyer region, the picture between owner countries in each region remains mixed. Greek owners have been the key European buyers, while Chinese and Japanese owners have taken very different approaches to S&P activity. The sale and purchase market has seen firm activity since the start of 2014, with 3,313 vessels of a combined 117.7m GT reported sold during this time.

Diana Containerships Sells Sagitta and Centaurus

m/v Sagitta. Photo: Diana Containerships Inc.

Diana Containerships announced that it has signed, through two separate wholly-owned subsidiaries, two Memoranda of Agreement to sell to an unaffiliated third party the m/v Sagitta and the m/v Centaurus, each a 2010 built containership for $12.3M each. The Company expects the Vessels to be delivered to the buyer at the latest by April 27, 2018. Upon completion of the aforementioned sale and the previously announced sales of two Post-Panamax container vessels and one Panamax container vessel, Diana Containerships Inc.’s fleet will consist of 6 container vessels (4 Post-Panamax and 2 Panamax).

Triyards Loses Shipbuilding Contract

Photo: Triyards Holdings

Cash-strapped shipbuilder Triyards Holdings Limited has received a termination notice for a chemical tanker design and construction deal. The Singapore-based yard group said after Thursday trading hours that its subsidiary Saigon offshore Fabrication and Engineering has received notice of termination for the design and construction of a chemical tanker at a contract value of US$25.5 million. "Pursuant to the Notice, the Buyer will claim for the reimbursement of all sums paid by the Buyer in advance on account of the Contract in an amount of US$5.1 million," said a statement.

Maritime Reporter Magazine Cover Mar 2018 - Annual World Yearbook

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