Between a Rock and a Hard Place

14 Jul 2017: As the tanker market suffers through its typical summer doldrums, shipowners are looking around for glimmers of hope that indicate that rates may improve in the coming months.  OPEC members are experiencing a similarly uninspiring market, facing stubbornly low oil prices due to an oversupplied market.  Unfortunately, a solution that could improve OPEC’s situation – deeper production cuts – would cause further pain for tanker owners.  At the moment, there does not appear to be a consensus within OPEC (and non-OPEC producers that have joined the production cuts) as to the best course of action.  In the meantime, some of the OPEC members that are exempt from the production cuts, like Libya and Nigeria, have significantly ramped up production and exports, undermining the deal that OPEC renewed less than two months ago.  In their latest Oil Market Report, the International Energy Agency (IEA) reported that OPEC’s rate of compliance with the production cuts appears to be slipping.

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