The biggest U.S. oil boom in almost a quarter century is prompting refiners in the Gulf of Mexico to book the most tankers since at least 2011 to ship products to Asia, signaling a monthly record in cargoes.
Pirates wielding rocket-propelled grenades and AK-47s have prompted Japan to ease a samurai-era ban on civilians carrying guns, allowing guards on locally registered oil tankers to be armed for the first time.
An explosion at a China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. oil pipeline and the nation’s deadliest spillage since at least 2005 may threaten the government’s efforts to lure investment to state-controlled industries as President Xi Jinping called for improved industrial safety.
Oil companies are hiring the biggest tankers to carry crude even before confirming the ships will have cargoes to carry, helping to drive owners’ earnings higher, according to Global Hunter Securities.
Rates for the largest oil-tankers surged as Chinese freight traders led an acceleration in Asian demand for the ships to load Middle East crude, sapping a fleet surplus that made the carriers unprofitable almost all year.
Abu Dhabi, holding about 6 percent of the world’s proven oil reserves, introduced a new crude blend, Das, to improve shipping flexibility as the United Arab Emirates sheikhdom seeks to boost production.
Mercuria Energy Trading SA failed to sell North Sea Forties crude at a smaller discount than yesterday. Royal Dutch Shell Plc bought Brent and Oseberg at higher prices than previous trades. Eni SpA sought to buy Russian Urals in northwest Europe without success.
Charter costs for tankers hauling 1 million barrels of oil fell to the lowest in at least 16 years as the glut of vessels seeking cargoes leaves owners accepting rates that fail even to cover fuel expenses.