Wednesday, 21 March 2012 12:14

A wall of Tankers to Keep Crude Prices at Bay

Saudi Arabia has announced that it is about to send a wall of supertankers towards the US in order to bring down the artificially inflated oil prices. Whatever the local political moves of the backstage, a stable and healthy global economy relies on reasonable energy prices -- and the patience is running low. At least we can applaud the maritime wall, even if it's a metaphor, let's hope that more oil infused in the US economy will make it just a bit easier... 

Please consider The price that launched a wall of ships
 
 
In a matter of days, Saudi Arabia has hired the largest number of super-tankers in years. When the tankers load their cargo in Ras Tanura, the world’s largest oil terminal, in the next couple of weeks and start a 40-day voyage towards the US Gulf coast, they will deliver a wall of oil with a single aim: to bring prices down. 
 

“This is the first time in several years for [Saudi Arabia] to hit the market with such volume – and in such a short time frame,” says Omar Nokta, a shipping expert at specialist investment bank Dalham Rose & Co.
 
Last week, Vela, the shipping arm of Saudi Aramco, hired over a few days 11 so-called very large crude oil carriers, each capable of shipping 2m barrels, to deliver to US-based refiners. “In 2011, Vela fixed one VLCC to the US every other month,” Mr Nokta says.
 

The hiring spree was the most public move by the kingdom in a series of efforts aimed at bringing down oil prices from $125 a barrel towards $100. “They want to bring prices down. That is it,” says a former Western oil official.
Saudi Oil Minister Says "High Oil Prices Unjustified"
 

Please consider Naimi calls high oil prices ‘unjustified’
 

Saudi Arabia’s powerful oil minister Ali Naimi sought to cool overheating oil markets on Tuesday, saying high oil prices were “unjustified” and that the kingdom could boost its output by as much as 25 per cent if necessary.
 
Supply was much more robust than it had been in 2008 when crude rose to $147 a barrel, he said. 
 
As the west’s nuclear stand-off with Iran escalates, oil prices have rallied this month to a post-2008 peak of $128 a barrel with markets bracing for European Union sanctions on Iranian crude that could knock out a chunk of global supply. Jitters have been fuelled by supply outages in Syria, Yemen and South Sudan.

...Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, said on Tuesday that rising energy prices had now overtaken Europe’s sovereign debt crisis as the biggest worry for the global economy. Speaking in New Delhi, she said that while the world financial system had strengthened over the past three months, volatile oil prices would have “serious consequences”.
 

But Mr Naimi insisted that supply was “much more firm today than in 2008”, the time of the last big oil increase. Saudi Arabia had 2.5m b/d of additional production capacity, which it could bring online if necessary. 
 
Saudi Arabia is likely to be producing about 9.9m b/d of oil in April and exporting roughly 7.5m-8m b/d of that, he said. Asked if the kingdom could ease prices by exporting more oil, he said customers were not asking for additional crude. “We are ready and willing to put more oil on the market, but you need a buyer,” he said. 

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