Shipbroking and shipping services provider SSY has released its latest update on the tanker markets, with a focus on US crude oil exports
US crude oil exports have increased significantly since traders began lifting shale oil derived crude oil out of ports on the US Gulf. SSY noted that US crude oil exports rose above 3M b/d in August 2019, with the driving forces being new pipelines opening up from the Permian Basin to ports on the US Gulf.
LOOP remains the only crude oil export facility in the USA capable of directly loading a VLCC. Its capacity is five or six VLCCs per month. Elsewhere VLCCs are loaded via lightering.
SSY lists the following pipeline and port developments as driving the growth:
There are also Suezmax tanker berths projects that will be online by the end of 2019, operated by:
Taken together, SSY expects US exports to rise to around 4M b/d, compared to an average of 2.85M b/d in January 2019.
SSY noted that VLCC activity in the US Gulf falls into two main scenarios. VLCCs delivering cargoes into the US Gulf and then loading export cargoes spend around 3-4 weeks in the region. VLCCs ballasting into the region spend around 1-3 weeks, the shorter time derived from VLCCs that have part loaded at Moda Ingleside (see above). SSY expects VLCCs and Suezmaxes ballasting into the Atlantic Basin will increase as Brazil’s crude oil output increases and Asian demand for North Sea and Urals grade crude oil increases. The squeeze on tonnage, says SSY, will increase volatility in the tanker market.