Before 24 May, 28 Saudi tankers including 14 VLCCs, carrying 43 million barrels of oil, are due to arrive on the US Gulf and West coasts. The Saudi fleet, (with oil loaded at Ras Tanura), will join 76 tankers of congestion, which are all currently waiting to unload in US ports.

Most of those 76 tankers are on the West Coast – there, 34 tankers are waiting to offload about 25 million barrels of crude. About 31 tankers, (carrying a similar load), are waiting for a slot to unload on the US Gulf Coast. The tanker congestion has spiked in recent days because refiners are cancelling or deferring their purchases, as they adjust utilisation rates to match the steep fall in demand for road and jet fuels.

Paola Rodriguez-Masiu, Rystad Energy’s Senior Oil Markets Analyst, said: “The total volumes booked to arrive from Ras Tanura are four times higher than the previous four-week average of imports from Saudi Arabia.

“Given the current storage situation and the level of congestion on US coasts, we find it unlikely that all tankers will be able to unload upon arrival. The congestion at US ports has reached new highs.”

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5th May 2020