alexander the great vlcc supertanker

The 297,958 MT VLCC, Alexander the Great, built by Universal Shipbuilding in 2010. Image: Capital Ship Management

(Bloomberg) — A glut of the largest oil tankers in the Persian Gulf was poised to remain unchanged for a second week, a Bloomberg News survey showed.

There are 17.5 percent more very large crude carriers for hire over the next 30 days than there are likely cargoes, the median estimate in a survey of six shipbrokers and owners today showed. That’s the same as on Oct. 30 and Oct. 23, according to previous surveys.

VLCCs on the Saudi Arabia-to-Japan voyage, the benchmark route for supertankers sailing to Asia, are losing $1,799 daily, figures from the Baltic Exchange in London showed. Returns were positive in only four sessions so far in the second half. Each vessel can hold 2 million barrels of oil.

The exchange’s assessments don’t reflect speed cuts aimed at reducing fuel costs, the main expense for owners, who can boost returns by slowing tankers on return journeys after unloading cargoes. The price of fuel, or bunkers, slid 1 percent to $615.13 a metric ton, the lowest level since July 26, data compiled by Bloomberg from 25 ports showed yesterday.

-Rob Sheridan, Copyright 2012 Bloomberg
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