Shipping Can Thank OPEC for $29 Billion Savings: Chart of the Day

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December 4, 2014

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By Naomi Christie

Dec. 4 (Bloomberg) — When OPEC sent oil prices tumbling last week by deciding not to tackle a global glut of crude, shipping companies the world over should have cracked open the Dom Perignon.

The CHART OF THE DAY shows how tanker owners’ earnings from hauling one-time, or spot, cargoes surged by almost 25 percent since the start of January even as oil companies and traders paid less to hire the vessels. The two lines have diverged since September when ship fuel, the industry’s single expense, tracked a crash in global crude prices.

Maintained for one year, the fuel-price slump since last November would amount to almost $29 billion of savings for shipping firms based on the industry’s total consumption, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Since the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries announced on Nov. 27 that it would maintain oil production in the face of a surplus, the annualized savings in the industry’s main grade of ship fuel would amount to almost $4 billion.

“It’s going to be a benefit for the entire industry,” Erik Nikolai Stavseth, an analyst at Arctic Securities ASA in Oslo, said by phone yesterday. Those owners competing for one- time, or spot cargoes, get paid lump sums from which they have to buy fuel, so they benefit most if prices slide, he said.

The fuel slump is beneficial to tanker companies including Euronav NV, according to Stavseth. Container shipping lines including A.P. Moeller-Maersk will also enjoy lower fuel costs, he said.

The savings figures multiply the cost of the main grade of ship fuel, known as bunker, with consumption that Trafigura Beheer estimates to be about 3.5 million barrels a day. Fuels such as marine diesel that weren’t included.

Copyright 2014 Bloomberg.

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