BP Signs $5 Million Charter for South Korea-bound Maersk VLCC

Maersk Hakone
Maersk Hakone, image by George Leblanc/Marinetraffic

LONDON–BP PLC (BP) is looking to ship 2 million barrels of North Sea crude to South Korea at the end of October, according to shipping fixtures seen Thursday by Dow Jones Newswires, a move that is supporting crude prices in the North Sea market.

BP has moved to charter the Very Large Crude Carrier, or VLCC, Maersk Hakone to load Forties crude in Hound Point, Scotland Oct. 24 and head to South Korea. The cost of the shipment is $5.05 million, according to the fixtures.

A free-trade agreement between the European Union and South Korea lets Korean refiners save 3% in import duties of North Sea oil grades.

Forties is the main component of global benchmark Brent, which is used to price most of the world’s oil. Rising prices of Forties often filter through into Brent oil futures.

Forties premium to physical benchmark Brent has strengthened this week as BP bought Forties cargoes and bid for more in every price-setting late-afternoon trade.

Shipping fixtures also showed that Chinese oil giant Unipec has moved to charter VLCC Blue Topaz to load Nov. 10 and ship from Europe to Asia. A shipbroker said that the supertanker is likely to ship crude oil.

– Konstantin Rozhnov, (c) 2012 Dow Jones & Company