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Industry Opinions


Can Owners Avoid Growing Pains
February 27, 2015

Fleet expansion remains limited despite healthy market

Fleet growth was limited in 2014 as the large orderbook that existed at the start of the financial crisis was mostly delivered or cancelled prior to last year. Contracting was also limited as the financial turmoil and market uncertainty kept owners away from the shipyards. Growing demand with limited fleet growth resulted in a tightening supply/demand balance and improving freight rates.

South of the Border Swap
February 20, 2015
The Potential Impact of a US - Mexican Oil Exchange
As geographical neighbors, the United States and Mexico have a long and mutually beneficial energy relationship. For many years, Mexico has been one of the top suppliers of crude oil to the US, which has reciprocated by sending significant volumes of refined products to Mexico. Mexico is also the largest net importer of US natural gas. Both countries are now exploring ways to further increase their ties. PEMEX, Mexico’s state oil company, has applied for a swap transaction that would involve importing heavy Mexican oil into the US in exchange for equivalent volumes of light US crude oil. What is the background of this proposal and how would it impact the crude oil and petroleum shipping markets in the Caribbean and beyond if it was approved?
More Barrels From Babylon
February 13, 2015
Iraqi Production and Exports Near Historic Highs
In the context of oil production growth, the US is the country that is often mentioned as the fastest growing non-OPEC producer. Within the group of OPEC countries, Iraq is the star performer with rapidly growing production. The International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that in 2014, Iraq’s oil production averaged 3.33 Million Barrel per day, the highest production since 1979, and a 7.5% increase over 2013. Iraq is now the second largest crude oil producer in OPEC. Exports increased by 3.8% in 2014 to reach 2.5 Mb/d. Considering the geopolitical turmoil in the region, this is an impressive achievement and the country has ambitious future growth targets.
Pipe Dreams
February 06, 2015
Will pipelines cloud the outlook for the tanker market?

A number of years ago, there was much discussion about new pipeline construction and expansion projects and their potential impact on tanker demand. Recently it has become quiet, in particular with respect to pipelines outside of North America. What is happening to some of these high profile projects?
What’s in Store for Tankers?
January 30, 2015
How can the oil market balance supply and demand?

2015 seems to be off to a very good start for tanker owners. Rates are strong and the outlook appears favorable, at least for the next 6 to 12 months. There is an expectation that a significant number of large crude oil tankers will be employed in floating storage as a result of a widening contango in the oil markets. As these vessels leave the spot market, spot rates will experience another boost. Going forward, some of the key questions are (1) how much excess oil is in the market, (2) where will it be stored, (3) how long can this imbalance last and (4) what happens next?
A Mulligan for Capesize Owners?
January 23, 2015
How bulker conversions will impact the tanker market

While the tanker market has gone from strength to strength on the back of sharply lower oil prices and moderate fleet expansion, the dry cargo market, in general, and capesize bulk carriers, in particular, are in the doldrums. The dry bulk orderbook for 2015 and 2016 delivery remains high, in particular for Capesize vessels. Is it realistic to expect that a significant portion of these large bulk carriers are going to be converted to Aframax or Suezmax tankers?
No Blast From The Past
January 16, 2015

The collapse in oil prices that we are experiencing now is not unprecedented.  As a matter of fact, something very similar happened in the oil markets in 1985 and 1986.  Within a period of 8 months, the Brent crude oil price went from $30 per barrel to $10 per barrel.  What was the situation in the tanker market back in the mid-1980s?  Is history repeating itself in the tanker market as well? 


Who’s on First?
January 09, 2015
Top Reported Dirty Spot Charterers for 2014*

Our traditional annual review of the top dirty spot charterers shows
the usual names at the top of the lists. Unipec remains number one
in the overall ranking of reported dirty spot charterers for 2014.
With 815 reported fixtures, they represented 7.8% of the total dirty
spot market activity, again edging oil major Shell, which retained 2nd
place with 758 fixtures. Oil trader Vitol moved up one spot and
replaced BP in the top 3. One new entrant in the top 20 was Italian
oil company ENI, which moved up to no. 15, while U.S. refiner
Valero dropped out of the top 20 in 2014.
2014 In The Rear View
December 31, 2014
Update and Review of 2014 Tanker Opinions

The end of the year is often a time of reflection and subsequent planning for the new year ahead. In this last issue of this year we will review the current status of the most relevant topics that were discussed throughout the year.
Let it Float, Let it Float, Let it Float
December 24, 2014
Is floating storage on the verge of a comeback?

The world is currently awash in crude as supply exceeds demand due to rapid production growth in North America, the return of lost barrels from geopolitical hot spots (such as Libya) combined with a slowdown in demand growth. As a result, oil prices have fallen significantly and the oil markets have shifted to contango again and storage of crude oil appears to be increasing, leaving many to wonder what the likelihood of floating storage is and what it could mean for tanker rates in 2015.
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