Some of the world’s largest oil traders are reportedly hiring supertankers in a possible attempt to stockpile oil supplies following the plunge in world prices.
Trading firms including Vitol, Trafigura
and energy major Shell have all booked crude tankers for up to 12 months, Reuters said, quoting freight brokers and shipping sources. These companies have booked crude tankers for up to 12 months - taking advantage of some cheaper rates of hire.
The idea is that by effectively parking large tankers full of oil offshore, oil owners can take advantage of cheap supplies and simply wait for prices to regain some strength. Costs have plunged more than 50% in the past six months as a result of a glut in supply and fears for world economic growth.
While major energy traders will often hire vessels for long periods as part of their day-to-day operations, industry sources said the fixtures booked in the last week had the option to hold oil in storage. Some could still be used for conventional oil transportation.
Vitol, the world’s largest independent oil trader, has booked the TI Oceania Ultra Large Crude Carrier, a 3 million barrel capacity mega-ship that is one of the biggest ocean going vessels in the world by dead weight tonnage (DWT). The agency said that Vitol, Trafigura and Shell, which it claimed had booked two vessels, had all declined to comment.