Mideast Tanker Charters Near Highest Since 2007, Marex Says

Oil companies and traders may charter the largest number of tankers to collect Middle East crude since at least 2007 this month, according to data from Marex Spectron Group, a commodities and freight brokerage.

Bookings of very large crude carriers, or VLCCs, to load 2 million-barrel oil cargoes from the Persian Gulf totaled 125 so far this month, the London-based broker’s Singapore unit said by e-mail today. Oil companies and traders may add five more November bookings, which would surpass April’s 129, the highest level since at least January 2007, the Marex data show.

Oil tankers loading cargoes in the Persian Gulf have lost an average of $383 a day this year before paying daily running costs, according to data from the Baltic Exchange in London. They made $21,875 last year. Costs including crew, insurance and repairs are about $12,000 a day.

There are 12 percent more VLCCs available for hire in the Persian Gulf over the next 30 days than likely cargoes, down 3 percentage points from last week, according to a Nov. 8 Bloomberg News survey of five shipbrokers and two owners.

Frontline Ltd., the world’s largest supertanker operator, was trading at 27.54 kroner a share in Oslo by 1:20 p.m. London time. That’s a loss of 82 percent this year, giving the Hamilton, Bermuda based company a market value of 2.1 billion kroner ($369 million).

The six-company Bloomberg Tanker Index, which spans oil-tanker companies trading on the New York Stock Exchange, was at 189.76, down 49 percent this year.

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