U.S. seaborne export of oil products (materials derived from crude oil) reached the highest annual level ever, in terms of volume and tonne miles demand. Volumes increased 9% in 2017 compared with 2016, amounting to an additional export of 10.8 million tonnes – equivalent to 80 million barrels.
Following a seasonal surge in December 2017, an increase in volume, combined with a marginal increase in the average sailing distance, caused the total annual tonne miles demand to surpass the previous high set in 2013.
BIMCO’s Chief Shipping Analyst Peter Sand commented: “The development in U.S. seaborne exports of oil products during the last 10 years have been highly beneficial for the oil product tanker shipping industry, as a larger share of the total U.S. oil products is transported via the sea. Since 2010 the volumes have tripled and now amounts to 10% of the world seaborne oil product trade”.
The average seaborne exports of US oil products in 2017 was 2.7 million barrels per day in 2017, compared to 2.5 million barrels per day in 2016.
The volume of seaborne exports of US oil products has increased every year since 2007 except for 2016, which was marginally down from the previous year.
BIMCO’s Chief Shipping Analyst said: “By exporting more to countries with closer geographical proximity, the additional exports of oil products do not benefit the tanker shipping industry as much as the increase in U.S. exports of crude oil does. For the U.S. seaborne exports of crude oil the average sailing distance grew by 65% and the volumes grew 151% for the first 10 months of 2017 compared to same period in 2016”.
The U.S. seaborne exports of oil products saw an annual decrease in tonne mile demand for 2014, 2015 and 2016, as the average sailing distance decreased more than the volumes increased. However, for 2017, the tonne mile demand is up 9% compared to 2016, as both volumes and average sailing distances are increasing.
Peter added: “The recent development in exported oil products from the U.S. provides the oil product tanker shipping industry with steady growth in volumes and yet again growth in tonne miles demand. Overall, we see oil product tankers operating in an improving market in 2018, with better market fundamentals for both demand and supply.
“Still, the oil product tanker sector may only break-even in 2018, if demand growth is low throughout the year”.
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8th Mar 2018