VLCC sails east but North Sea crude is still floating

A tanker carrying North Sea Forties crude is headed to Asia-Pacific, having floated offshore UK for the last month, but the level of crude effectively in floating storage remains high.

The 2mn bl very large crude carrier (VLCC) Sara - which initially loaded its Forties cargo at Hound Point, Scotland, on 19 June - signalled late yesterday for 'Rizhao for orders', and is scheduled to arrive in China on 10 September.

The Sara was initially fixed by Shell to take Forties east on 20 June. But while the tanker signalled 'China for orders' on 19 June, it changed course and instead sailed to England's south coast, where it has since been floating offshore Falmouth - still signalling for orders.

The Sara is the first tanker to depart the region for Asia-Pacific in July, despite several other similarly-sized vessels being provisionally fixed to make the voyage.

The 2mn bl Gener8 Ulysses - provisionally fixed by Shell to take Forties to South Korea on 10 June - loaded its cargo at Hound Point and sailed from the terminal on 16 June, but remains floating offshore. The 2mn bl Maran Thetis - provisionally fixed by Shell to take Forties to South Korea between 20-21 June - arrived at Hound Point on time to load its cargo but is floating offshore signalling for orders. Total's 2mn bl Orthis - which received its Forties cargo from the Maran Thetis via ship-to-ship transfer earlier this month - remains floating offshore Southwold, eastern England, after a number of cargoes were unsuccessfully offered from the vessel. The Maran Thetis initially loaded its Forties cargo for Total in April.

The 1mn bl Suezmax Ottoman Tenacity is also anchored at Southwold, loaded with Brent crude. The tanker loaded on 18 July, before signalling for orders and then anchoring in Wick Bay, off the northern tip of Scotland. At least five 600,000 bl Aframax tankers that loaded over the last month have yet to find discharge, and are floating offshore at various locations along the UK coastline. Four are loaded with Forties crude.

Source: Hellenic Shipping News

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