Earnings for Biggest Product Tankers Seen Rising 50% in 2015
Average annual earnings for Long Range 2 tankers, the largest ships used to transport refined products, are forecast to climb 50% in 2015, as low crude prices boost refinery margins, leading to increased exports and greater demand for the vessels.
Daily rates will average $27,000 for the tankers -- which have capacity for 80,000- to 90,000-ton cargoes -- compared to $18,000 daily in 2014, according to RS Platou Markets, a Norwegian investment bank.
Clean oil trade climbed 2% last year, partly due to the cuts in crude prices in the last six months, which boosted refinery utilization worldwide, RS Platou Markets said in its Shipping Quarterly, distributed this week.
Refiners in Europe, which had the world's lowest profit margins, lifted crude imports by 14% in 2014's last quarter, according to the report, just one of a series of changes that reflected the impact of oil price cuts on seaborne tanker trade.
Long Range 2 tankers ship around 40% of refined products exported from the Middle East, with the biggest destinations Asia and Europe, shipping data show.
There are around 260 designated Long Range 2 tankers in the world, while the fleet of Medium Range product tankers -- which carry about half the capacity and around 50% of all seaborne products trade -- numbers 1,670 vessels. Some aframax crude tankers also have capacity to carry products depending on their tank coatings, but are not included in the count.
RS Platou forecasts earnings for MR tankers to average $18,000 daily in 2015, compared to $14,000 daily last year, the report said. MR tankers are used predominantly for trans-Atlantic and U.S.-South American trades, as well as intra-Asia business.
Long Range One tankers, with 65,000-ton cargo capacity, will average $25,000 daily, up from $16,000 daily in 2014, RS Platou said.
Overall product tanker demand, measured in deadweight tons, is forecast rising 5%, outpacing a 1.9% rise in the fleet capacity, as new ships are added to the fleet.
The seaborne product tanker trade is estimated at around 900 million tons annually, while about 2 billion tons of crude is shipped by sea.
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