Freight rates to ship US crude to Asia are still on the rise, with costs to charter a supertanker increasing to a record $12 million on October the 3rd. This development comes as an aftermath of US’s sanction against two units of COSCO, alleging that they were involved in transporting crude out of Iran.
The recent oil price jump could lead to further momentum for service sector margins, according to Rystad Energy. Namely, 60% of the top 50 oilfield service (OFS) contractors already improved margins and increased operational efficiency in the first half of 2019.
Providing a comment on the latest announcement by Saudi Aramco promising a swift restart of oil production after last Saturday’s attack, Rystad Energy chief oil market analyst Bjørnar Tonhaugen warned that there is the risk of a slower restart of Saudi Arabian oil production.
Drone attacks on crucial Saudi Arabian oil facilities, which are among the world’s most important energy production centers, have caused disruptions on around half of the country’s oil capacity, or 5% of the worldwide oil supply. Yemen’s Houthi rebels took responsibility for the attacks, noting that 10 drones aimed Saudi Aramco’s oil facilities in Abqaiq and Khurais.
A secret cyber-attack that took place against Iran during June wiped out a significant database that Iran’s paramilitary arm uses, in order to plan attacks against oil tankers. This attack degraded Tehran’s capability of covertly targeting shipping traffic in the Persian Gulf, at least temporarily, senior American officials told the New York Times.
Iran claims that it has sold the oil from the tanker Adrian Darya, that was released by Gibraltar after weeks in the custody of British Royal Marines, according to IRIB news agency, which quoted an Iranian government spokesman. Iran did not identify the recipient of the oil carried by the Adrian Darya tanker. He added that the owner and purchaser of this oil will now decide the destination of the cargo.
Equinor and partners OMV and Petoro announced that they have made an oil discovery in the Sputnik exploration well in the Barents Sea. Recoverable resources are preliminarily estimated at 20-65 million barrels of oil. The Sputnik well was drilled in licence PL855, around 30 kilometres North East of the Wisting discovery.
As EIA informs, the Suez Canal and the SUMED Pipeline are strategic routes for Persian Gulf crude oil, petroleum products, and LNG shipments to Europe and North America. Located in Egypt, the Suez Canal connects the Red Sea with the Mediterranean Sea, and is considered as a key chokepoint due to the large volumes of energy commodities that flow through it.
Libyan National Oil Corporation declared a state of force majeure on crude oil loadings at Zawiya port beginning on July 20. This is because of an unlawful Sharara pipeline valve closure by an unidentified group between Hamada and the Zawiya port, suspending production. However, today (July 22), NOC announced that it lifted the force majeure.
On 20 June 2019 the US pulled back from retaliatory military strikes against Iran, after Iran’s targeting of a US drone allegedly operating in Iranian airspace. This came after a series of attacks on vessels in the Gulf of Oman area, most recently on the Front Altair and the Kokuka Courageous. For this reason, Jean Koh, Daniel Martin and Isabel Phillips, HFW, advise brokers to consider their shipowners’ and charterers’ rights while operating in this tense climate.
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