Everything seems to revolve around the glut in the oil market, when it comes to shaping future tanker demand. In its latest note, Cotzias Intermodal Shipping said that global oil supply is expected to remain higher than global consumption in 2016, keeping oil prices at relatively low levels this summer compared with previous years. According to the shipbroker, "oversupply and growing economic headwinds are weighing down heavily on oil worldwide. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), Brent crude oil prices are forecast to average $35/b in summer 2016, $21/b lower than last summer. The monthly average spot price of Brent crude oil increased by $2/b in June to $48/b, which was actually the highest monthly average for Brent since October 2015. This was the fifth consecutive increase in the monthly average Brent price, the longest such stretch since May through September 2013", said Cotzias Intermodal Shipping Inc.

Meanwhile, in the US, the shipbroker said that "commercial crude oil weekly inventories have increased by more than 71 million barrels (15%) since the end of September 2015, pushing crude oil storage capacity utilization to a near record high according to EIA. The large increase in crude oil storage capacity in the States between September 2015 and March 2016 was prompted by increased demand for crude oil storage as global supply has outpaced global demand for most of the past two years".

According to Christopher Whitty, Commercial Manager - Towage & Port Agency with Cotzias Intermodal Shipping Inc., "in S.E. Asia, predominantly Singapore and Malaysia, the volumes of oil stored at sea also appear to have increased significantly. There is still a large fleet of VLCCs off Singapore anchored in nearby areas for storage use. There is a major concern that there is still a considerable quantity of physical crude oil stored in the area especially during the last few months. This is actually the fourth time during the last three decades, that we have a major crash in oil prices. OPEC countries today, refuse to actually cut back or agree to limit production in order to boost prices. In the past, that tactic was a good solution but today OPEC is facing its own challenges. For Saudi Arabia and the remaining Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and United Arab Emirates), which together account for around 40% of the world's oil reserves and the lion's share of OPEC's collective output, their future oil strategy should be an exclusively GCC affair, away from the stress and dysfunction of OPEC. We see huge developments and the continued existence of OPEC being in peril".

The shipbroker noted that "the conflict within the OPEC group over a coordinated cut in output has led to intense international pressure on Saudi Arabia. The meeting of oil producers in Doha in April basically led to more claims of Saudi Arabia's intolerance, despite the fact that Saudi Arabia has the largest excess oil capacity in the world by an enormous degree. We have, in fact, passed the point where OPEC's key member Saudi Arabia can any longer dictate oil prices. Saudi Arabia might have hinged on the respect it received from OPEC members, which gave it control over OPEC outputs and de-facto control of 40% of world oil output, way more than its share. That status quo guaranteed a steady oil supply which, in turn, fueled economic exchanges and progress during the last half-century with an unprecedented increase in prosperity worldwide. We are now transitioning to a time where open trading on world markets has more impact on oil prices than the attempts of OPEC to establish artificial restricted supply", Mr. Whitty concluded.

Source: Hellenic Shipping News