As a supplement to this year's 2017 Mid-Year Tanker Market Outlook Update, we've developed an "Outlook Scorecard," which provides a snapshot of previous market behavior as well as updates to our 2017 forecasts. The one-page format makes it a perfect desk reference that can be used through the balance of 2017.
The global tanker market is an ever changing landscape, constantly adapting to the volatility of oil market fundamentals, which are determined by regional price fluctuations and geopolitical events. Tanker owners may take advantage of emerging trade patterns that bring prosperous opportunities, while reducing their presence in markets that once boomed but are now faltering.
This snapshot provides an overview of the shuttle tanker market from January 2015 to May 2017. Due to the dense offshore oil fields and offshore floating tankers, EC South America and Northern Europe are the two major deployment regions for the shuttle tanker fleet. We have counted a total of 398 FPSO/FSO calls in EC South America and another 66 calls in Northern Europe through May 2017. The average age of the fleet stands at 10 years; the oldest tanker is the 1995-built Ifrikia Iii, owned by Teekay Navion.
Recent strength in European product demand, coupled with higher outflows to the West, has boosted product margins and incentivized refiners to increase runs. We expect European crude demand to remain strong in the summer months, which will likely be filled by rising crude supply in the Mediterranean, Black Sea and West Africa. Higher volumes along these trade routes are projected to support Suezmax and Aframax tanker freight rates in the coming months.