The cost to transport crude oil from the Caribbean on Aframax tankers fell 43 percent this week as the supply of ships available for charter exceeded demand.
The cost to transport crude oil from the Caribbean on Aframax tankers fell 43 percent this week as the supply of ships available for charter exceeded demand. Aframaxes today were hired for an average rate of Worldscale 70, down 6.7 percent from WS 75 on April 1, according to New York-based Poten & Partners and Houston's Lone Star, R.S. Platou. WS 70 is about $8,300 a day after expenses, such as fuel and port fees. That is near break-even level for shipowners. ?The Caribbean spent the whole week in decline,? E.A. Gibson Shipbrokers, based in London, said in a note to shipowners and brokers. ?There is little to suppose that things will turn around in the short term.?
Demand for voyages is weak as U.S. fuel use slows and U.S. oil stockpiles rise. Total daily fuel consumption was 18.9 million barrels in the four weeks ended March 27, down 4.4 percent from a year earlier, according to the Energy Department. Oil supplies are at a 15-year high.
The Aframax rate ?continues to see pressure as it moves toward parity with European rates,? Omar Nokta, an analyst at Dahlman Rose & Co. in New York, said in a note to investors. Aframax rates in the Mediterranean have fallen 54 percent this year on weak demand.
Cardiff Marine Inc.'s Monterrey is due to arrive at Puerto de la Cruz, Venezuela, on April 5, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
One ship is due at the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port, or LOOP, the biggest U.S. oil-import terminal, this week, the data showed. Metrostar Management Corp.'s Crudesun, a Suezmax, is to arrive April 5. Suezmaxes can carry 1 million barrels of oil.
More than 40 percent of U.S. crude imports come from nearby countries, including Canada, Mexico and Venezuela, according to E.A. Gibson. The U.S. consumes about one-quarter of the world's crude.
$8,150 a Day
General Maritime Corp., the second-largest U.S.-based tanker owner, estimated its 2009 daily operating expenses for an Aframax at $8,150.
Worldscale points are a percentage of a nominal rate, or flat rate, for tanker shipments on various routes. Flat rates, quoted in U.S. dollars a ton, are revised annually by the Worldscale Association in London to reflect changing costs.
The Caribbean is the world's third-largest Aframax-tanker market, after the Mediterranean and Southeast Asia. An Aframax is the most common tanker used to move oil in the region. It can carry 600,000 barrels of oil.