Tens of millions of barrels of crude and oil products stored on tankers at sea due to the COVID-19 pandemic are now being sold, in a sign fuel demand is recovering as lockdowns ease.

Fuel demand tumbled as much 30% between March and May, with some surplus stored at sea as land storage filled up. Crude held on tankers fell below 150 million barrels by the end of June, down from more than 180 million barrels in late April, according to IHS Markit.

Refined products held on vessels dropped to 50 million barrels from a mid-May peak close to 75 million barrels, it said, adding gasoline stocks were the fastest to be offloaded.

Fotios Katsoulas of IHS said: “Volumes shown under floating storage can potentially drop rather fast during July,” adding there were several tankers off China waiting to discharge.

For more information visit ihsmarkit.com

10th August 2020