Thursday, February 10, 2011

oil tankers in the wake of the egyptian crisis

Peak Oil News | Gail Tverberg’s analysis of some of the underlying causes of the current Egyptian crisis is cogent, but one of the other consequences caught my attention today. For, as was noted in Forbes
While most equity-related assets got battered, a select group of stocks, oil shippers, were corking champagne bottles. Apart from Overseas Shipholding, Frontline Ltd. had a killer day, gaining 7.8% or $1.96 to $27.10.

An analyst for a shipping hedge fund explained that the spike is connected to fears surrounding the continued operations of the Suez Canal, amidst social unrest caused by massive riots against President Hosni Mubarak’s 30 year rule. “While Suez closure is not much of a threat, shippers are refusing to load in the Red Sea and transit the Canal,” explained the trader. “What’s probably going to happen is that they re-rout ships to the Cape [of Good Hope],” he noted.

“[Re-routing] makes voyages longer, which ties up ships and in turn diminishes supply,” said the analyst, “[this] is positive for the tanker market."
The change involved is not just giving a tanker captain a different map and saying “get on with it.” Because of the relative size of the Suez Canal, there are different sizes of tankers involved, and so I thought it useful to talk about the different sizes of tankers, how fast and where they go, (and what the cost of that re-routing might be) in the post today.

To begin with let’s look at the traffic along the Suez Canal itself. Note that there is no immediate port of access into the Mediterranean, and thus to Europe, from Saudi Arabia or the nations of the Gulf. Fist tap Big Don