Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Iran Adds Four More Supertankers to Crude Oil Storage.Income from suezmax -class vessels jumped 29 percent to $32,237 a day

April 20 (Bloomberg) -- Iran, OPEC's second-biggest oil producer, added four supertankers to its fleet of vessels storing crude, taking the total to 11 after two others set sail, ship tracking data show.

At least 11 such vessels are idling in the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, according to data from the ships collected by AISLive Ltd. Combined, the tankers can store about 22 million barrels of oil, more than Europe consumes in a day.

Income from supertankers on the benchmark Saudi Arabia-to- Japan route climbed 54 percent this month to $57,526 a day, according to data from the London-based Baltic Exchange. The supply of vessels in the Middle East is at parity with demand, according to the median estimate of three shipbrokers and two owners surveyed by Bloomberg News yesterday.

"Aside from the Iranian charters, the fundamentals don't suggest it should be this firm," Jeff McGee, an analyst at Simpson, Spence & Young Ltd. in London, the world's second- largest shipbroker, said by phone.

Two years ago, Iran used as many as 15 tankers for storage, constricting vessel supply and helping to more than triple freight rates in less than three months.

Iran is likely storing oil because of weakening demand as refineries across Asia, accounting for almost two-thirds of global demand for supertankers, carry out maintenance. National Iranian Tanker Co., which operates the supertankers, also has a laden suezmax tanker idling off Iran, ship-tracking data show. A suezmax can hold about 1 million barrels of oil.

Discounts Widen

The discount on Iran Heavy crude compared with Oman and Dubai petroleum is at its widest in more than a year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The discounts on Iran's Forozan, Soroosh and Norooz crudes have also widened.

Seifollah Jashnsaz, managing director of National Iranian Oil Co., referred questions to Ali Asghar Arshi, the company's manager of international affairs. Calls to Arshi's mobile phone weren't answered. Calls to the office of Mohammad Souri, managing director of National Iranian Tanker, weren't answered.

National Iranian Tanker has a fleet of 28 supertankers, according to Lloyd's Register-Fairplay data on Bloomberg. The remaining 17 carriers are all either moving or have been at their present locations for less than two weeks, according to the tracking data.

Suez Canal

Of the nine supertankers that were recorded as likely to be storing last week, the Harsin and Noor departed. The last signal from the Harsin was more than 24 hours ago and it has yet to announce a destination. The ship last signaled almost 9 miles away from where it had been circling for several weeks in the Gulf of Suez. The Noor is now signaling Kharg Island off Iran as its destination and is about 800 miles (1,287 kilometers) away from where it was sitting south of the Suez Canal.

Charter rates for supertankers shipping Saudi Arabian crude to Japan, the route used to settle freight derivatives, was little changed, dropping 0.04 percent to 96.63 Worldscale points, according to the London-based Baltic Exchange.

Income from suezmax-class vessels jumped 29 percent to $32,237 a day, according to the exchange. Aframaxes that haul 650,000 barrels fell 2.6 percent to $13,518 a day.

Tanker Location Since Capacity
Najm Iran Jan. 4 2 million
Haraz U.A.E. Jan. 5 2 million
Honar Iran Jan. 31 2 million
Huwayzeh U.A.E. March 9 2 million
Danesh Iran March 12 2 million
Darab Iran March 15 2 million
Sarv Iran March 17 1 million
Dadgar Iran March 19 2 million
Nabi Iran March 30 2 million
Damavand U.A.E. April 1 2 million
Noah U.A.E. April 5 2 million
Hormoz U.A.E. April 6 2 million
The new ships are: Nabi, Damavand, Noah, Hormoz.
*T--With assistance from Ali Sheikholeslami in London. Editors: Stuart Wallace, John Deane.

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2010/04/19/bloomberg1376-L16MO81A1I4J-1.DTL#ixzz0lep74uYa

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