Benchmark oil tanker earnings topped $50,000 a day for the first time in more than two years as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine upends global crude flows.
Rates for giant supertankers that can haul 2 million barrels of oil climbed to $50,682 a day, the highest since June 2020. Europe’s oil refiners are pulling more crude from further afield — particularly the Middle East and US — boosting demand for the world’s biggest oil tankers.
The higher volumes have left shipowners optimistic that earnings will continue to rise after the prolonged period with rates in the doldrums, where owners were effectively subsidizing voyages.
“We’re very bullish,” said Aristidis Alafouzos, chief operating officer of Okeanis Eco Tankers Corp. “The amount of cargoes has increased significantly. You have the the disruption caused by the reorganization of European refineries importing non-Russian crude.”
Higher Middle East and US flows to Europe are bullish as ships are sailing longer distances than before the invasion, effectively reducing the number of available vessels. Smaller oil tankers have also posted stronger earnings in recent months as sailing distances have increased.
Shares of oil tanker companies have steadily rallied as a result. Okeanis hit the highest since it was first listed in 2018 earlier this week. Tanker giants Frontline Ltd. and DHT Holdings Inc. both hit the highest since 2015, while Euronav NV climbed to the highest since 2010.
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