Aries Star vela VLCC

Aries Star, a 317k DWT VLCC, image courtesy VELA International

LONDON (Dow Jones)–Saudi Arabia’s state shipping company, Vela, is set to ship more oil to the U.S. this month, after a flurry of activity in March caught the attention of market participants, shipbrokers told Dow Jones Newswires Thursday.

Vela has chartered at least three supertankers, capable of carrying around 6 million barrels of oil, to ship crude to the U.S. later this month, shipping fixtures show.

“They definitely are having a more active program going west,” a shipbroker said.

In mid-March the Saudi shipping company chartered 11 ships to carry oil to the U.S. Gulf, in part to feed the expansion of a Gulf Coast refinery co-owned by Saudi Arabia’s national oil company, a person familiar with the matter said.

-By Sarah Kent, Dow Jones Newswires

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