Statoil Books Supertanker to Ship North Sea Crude to South Korea

Statoil ASA booked a very large crude carrier to haul North Sea oil to South Korea, raising the number of supertankers involved in the trade to 15 since mid-December, shipbroker reports showed.

Statoil chartered the Elizabeth I.A. to load crude at Mongstad in Norway on July 15 at a cost of $4.85 million, according to data from New York-based Poten & Partners Inc. Galbraith’s Ltd., located in London, separately reported the tanker as loading July 1 at a rate of $4.8 million. Vessel charters are sometimes not concluded.

The unprecedented crude flow is taking place after South Korea and the European Union signed a free-trade agreement in July 2011. The accord exempted the nation’s refineries from a 3 percent tax on crude imports from the EU. More than half of the North Sea oil shipped to South Korea is Forties blend, a grade used to set Dated Brent, the benchmark for more than half of the world’s crude, according to the table of ships chartered.

The Elizabeth I.A. is owned by Athens-based Anangel Shipping Enterprises SA. Chartering manager Harvey Miller declined to comment by phone from London. Each VLCC typically holds 2 million barrels of oil.

Morten Eek, a spokesman for Stavanger, Norway-based Statoil, also declined to comment. The company is the country’s largest oil and gas producer.

Forties traded at a 38 cent-a-barrel premium to Dated Brent, a two-month high, as of June 7, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The blend was at a 31-cent discount to the benchmark today.

Details of VLCC fixtures from the North Sea to Asia since December are as follows. Freight amounts are in millions of dollars. Scotland’s Hound Point is the loading terminal for Forties, and Mongstad is where ships take on cargoes of the Norwegian Troll and Heidrun grades. The data are based on oil-tanker reports and ship-tracking data from IHS Inc.

Ship         Charterer    Date      Port    Destination  Freight

 the Great       BP       Dec. 12   H. Point  Ulsan        $4
Eliza            N.A.     Dec. 21   H. Point  Yeosu        N.A.
Oliva            N.A.     Jan.  9   H. Point /
                          Jan. 12   Mongstad  Yeosu        N.A.
Great Lady       Vitol    Jan. 15   H. Point  Kawasaki/Yeosu  $7
Front Champion   Statoil  Jan. 21   Mongstad  Ulsan        $6.1
DHT Eagle        Statoil  Feb.  16  Mongstad  Ulsan        N.A.
Ioanna           Shell    March 19  H. Point  Yeosu        $5.95
British Purpose  N.A.     March 29  H. Point  Ulsan        N.A.
Mesdar           Chevron  April 28  H. Point  Yeosu        $7.3
Atlantas         Occidental May 14  H. Point  Yeosu        $6.9
Maersk Hirado    Statoil  May 22    Mongstad  Daesan       $6.75
Front Tina       Statoil  May 17    H. Point/
                                    Mongstad  Ulsan        $6.3
Maersk Nectar    Glencore June 2    H. Point  S.Korea      $6.25
Front Opalia*    BP       June 24   North Sea S.Korea      $5.5
Elizabeth I.A.*  Statoil  July 1/15 Mongstad  S.Korea      $4.85
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