Iran Adds Four Supertankers to Oil Storage, Taking Total to 11
Iran, OPEC"s second-biggest oil producer, added four supertankers to its fleet of vessels storing crude, taking the total to 11 after two others set sail, ship tracking data show. At least 11 such vessels are idling in the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, according to data from the ships collected by AISLive Ltd.
Combined, the tankers can store about 22 million barrels of oil, more than Europe consumes in a day.
?Aside from the Iranian charters, the fundamentals don"t suggest it should be this firm,? Jeff McGee, an analyst at Simpson, Spence & Young Ltd. in London, the world"s second- largest shipbroker, said by phone.
Two years ago, Iran used as many as 15 tankers for storage, constricting vessel supply and helping to more than triple freight rates in less than three months.
Iran is likely storing oil because of weakening demand as refineries across Asia, accounting for almost two-thirds of global demand for supertankers, carry out maintenance. National Iranian Tanker Co., which operates the supertankers, also has a laden suezmax tanker idling off Iran, ship-tracking data show. A suezmax can hold about 1 million barrels of oil.
The discount on Iran Heavy crude compared with Oman and Dubai petroleum is at its widest in more than a year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The discounts on Iran"s Forozan, Soroosh and Norooz crudes have also widened.
Seifollah Jashnsaz, managing director of National Iranian Oil Co., referred questions to Ali Asghar Arshi, the company"s manager of international affairs. Calls to Arshi"s mobile phone weren"t answered. Calls to the office of Mohammad Souri, managing director of National Iranian Tanker, weren"t answered.
National Iranian Tanker has a fleet of 28 supertankers, according to Lloyd"s Register-Fairplay data on Bloomberg. The remaining 17 carriers are all either moving or have been at their present locations for less than two weeks, according to the tracking data.
Of the nine supertankers that were recorded as likely to be storing last week, the Harsin and Noor departed. The last signal from the Harsin was more than 24 hours ago and it has yet to announce a destination.
The ship last signaled almost 9 miles away from where it had been circling for several weeks in the Gulf of Suez. The Noor is now signaling Kharg Island off Iran as its destination and is about 800 miles away from where it was sitting south of the Suez Canal.