OIL TRAFFIC JAM
As land storage sites worldwide reach brimming point due to a supply glut, tens of millions of barrels of oil are sitting on tankers looking for homes - threatening logistical paralysis.
The International Energy Agency on Friday said stored oil has hit 3 billion barrels. Traders say the excess of crude is leaving tankers queuing at major ports worldwide, lengthening waiting times to days, weeks and even months.
The lack of space to unload oil is tying up the tankers needed to keep oil moving, and wells running. The bottlenecks could force oil suppliers into quick, cut-priced sales just to free space, adding more pressure to oil prices already close to six-year lows.
The cost to hire a supertanker - each capable of carrying 2 million barrels of oil - recently hit its highest level since 2008 at over $100,000 a day last month and currently remains at over $70,000 a day.
"We're alarmed," said Eugene Lindell, senior crude market analyst with JBC Energy. "There are growing indicators that it's getting harder to digest this crude."
FROM TEXAS TO CHINA
In the U.S. Gulf, more than 50 commercial vessels were anchored outside ports near Houston at the end of last week, of which 41 were tankers.
Trade sources said there were seven aframax tankers - each capable of carrying up to 700,000 barrels of oil - sitting outside Rotterdam waiting to unload. There was also nearly 15 million barrels of unsold West African crude oil either loaded on tankers or waiting to be loaded in the next two weeks.
Shipping and port sources, pointing to full onshore storage, said up to 20 supertankers were held up in Iraq's Basrah terminal, with vessels experiencing loading delays of up to 12 days.
One port source said at China's Qingdao port, one supertanker was stuck at anchorage since August and another since last month.
"There are delays across the board as a lot of cargo is being put through the system. Port delays in Basrah and China in particular but also in many other areas. This is tying up capacity," said one tanker source.
Shipping consultants MSI said the near-term outlook for crude tankers was positive.
"Storage space in China and Europe is dwindling, leading to extended discharge times. Couple this with ongoing high load waiting times in Iraq and Turkish Straits delays and (tanker) availability is tight," MSI said.
A problem for oil players is that tankers have not been booked on long-term charters. This is in contrast to the floating storage play seen earlier this year, when ships were parked at sea until prices recovered and were then sold by oil traders for a profit.
Sources said the current build up was parked on vessels hired for shorter journeys, meaning oil suppliers will have to unload soon or face more freight expenses.
"Those holding stocks will either have to dump their cargoes at cheaper prices or pay those higher freight costs," a trade source said.
Another added: "Each minute the clock is ticking, they're losing money."
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AN - China National Offshore Oil Corp. (CNOOC) is willing to invest $3 billion in its existing oil and gas operation in Nigeria, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) said on Sunday following a meeting with the Chinese in Abuja.
REUTERS - Production at Libya’s giant Sharara oil field was expected to fall by at least 160,000 barrels per day (bpd) on Saturday after two staff were abducted in an attack by an unknown group, the National Oil Corporation (NOC) said.
IMF - Output grew by 3.8 percent in 2017, underpinned by a resilient non-hydrocarbon sector, with robust implementation of GCC-funded projects as well as strong activity in the financial, hospitality, and education sectors. The banking system remains stable with large capital buffers. Growth is projected to decelerate over the medium term.
IMF - Higher oil prices and short-term portfolio inflows have provided relief from external and fiscal pressures but the recovery remains challenging. Inflation declined to its lowest level in more than two years. Real GDP expanded by 2 percent in the first quarter of 2018 compared to the first quarter of last year. However, activity in the non-oil non-agricultural sector remains weak as lower purchasing power weighs on consumer demand and as credit risk continues to limit bank lending.