The Caribbean market for dirty tankers is beginning to heat up amid increasing volumes of crude oil from Colombia and Venezuela heading to the US Gulf refining system, coupled with the strengthening of US crude and stable condensate exports from the US Gulf to the Caribbean. This expanding trade flow dynamic has introduced a regional triangulation element for Aframax tankers operating in this part of the world. In this note, we examine the reasons behind the increasing flows and assess the future outlook on earnings potential for owners trading in this region.
Chinese independent oil refiners, better known as teapot refineries, were granted additional crude import licenses this year by the Chinese government, allowing them to import as much as 0.88 million b/d. By using AIS position data, we observed a significant rise in the number of oil tankers either in port or anchored within 60 miles of the port from the beginning of the year as a result of strong demand from these refiners. To learn more about the impact these delays have been having on the VLCC spot market, click the PDF icon above to download this industry note.