Sunday, May 17, 2020

"A Huge Fleet Of 117 Tankers Is Bringing Super Cheap Crude To China"

It's probably because we're only a few weeks from the anniversary of D-Day that my first thought on seeing the headline was this bit from our annual tribute to big things done well:
...The German privates in the bunkers and pillboxes at dawn, looking out at the largest armada ever assembled-
6939 vessels: 1213 naval combat ships, 4126 landing ships and landing craft, 736 ancillary craft and 864 merchant vessels.

Most of them said something that included the word Scheiße (exkrement).
(One German officer purportedly said, in disbelief, "It's impossible ... there can't be that many ships in the world." )
Yes, I saw the headline and said "Holy Scheiße." But not in German.

From OilPrice:
While the rest of the world is tentatively coming out of lockdowns, China is taking advantage of the cheapest crude oil in years to stock up as demand is starting to return in the world’s largest oil importer, Bloomberg reported on Friday, citing tanker-tracking data it has compiled. At present, a total of 117 very large crude carriers (VLCCs) – each capable of shipping 2 million barrels of oil – are traveling to China for unloading at its ports between the middle of May and the middle of August. If those supertankers transport standard-size crude oil cargoes, it could mean that China expects at least 230 million barrels of oil over the next three months, according to Bloomberg. The fleet en route to China could be the largest number of supertankers traveling to the world’s top oil importer at one time, ever, Bloomberg News’ Firat Kayakiran says.

Many of the crude oil cargoes are likely to have been bought in April, when prices were lower than the current price and when WTI Crude futures even dipped into negative territory for a day....MORE
The ship OilPrice uses as their graphic is Euronav's TI Oceania which along with its sister ship TI Europe is the largest capacity (3.1mm bbl) Ultra-Large Crude Carrier in the world. And which last time we looked at it was working as the world's largest gas station off Malaysia and Singapore:
Euronav Repurposes The World's Largest Tanker to Fuel Bunker for IMO 2020 Compliant Juice

Which would seem to be verified by Marine Traffic:
Position Received: 2020-05-18 02:16 UTC
6 minutes ago
Vessel's Local Time:
2020-05-18 10:16 LT (UTC +8)
Area: INDO - Malacca Strait
Latitude / Longitude: 2.344667° / 101.9109°
Status: At Anchor
Speed/Course: 0 kn / 17 °
AIS Source: Terrestrial AIS
TI Europe was chartered by Glencore and is also at anchor off Malaysia.

And speaking of Malaysia, OilPrice had this story on Friday:
China Backs Down, Pulls Survey Vessel From Malaysian Waters