US shipbroker Poten & Partners has published its annual report on the oil companies and traders that have spot chartered the most tonnage in 2018.
The ranking shows very little change from 2017 with Unipec increasing its overall share to 14.7% of reported cargoes at over 200M tonnes, far in excess of second-placed Shell (see table above).
Specifically, Poten & Partners noted that Unipec, the trading arm of Sinopec, was responsible for over 30% of the spot VLCC charters in 2018; more than the next highest seven companies combined.
Tanker Shipping & Trade’s comment is that this exposed Unipec to a significant risk. If there had been a 'tanker party' (deliberate withholding of VLCCs from the market by owners to drive up rates) in 2018, Unipec would have been exposed to a considerable risk.
In the other sectors analysed by Poten & Partners there was a far more even spread of charterers.
In the Suezmax sector, Repsol (which has particular chartering requirements), Chevron and Shell all had around 180 spot charters in 2018, give or take 5% and the top 20 was largely unchanged.
In the Aframax sector trading house Vitol conducted over 300 spot charters, marginally more than Shell with third-placed Lukoil some way behind with around 200 fixtures.
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