Oil products shipped by sea will gain 9.7 percent during the next four years, amid a change in trading routes led by rising refining capacity in Asia and the Middle East, said DVB Bank SE, a transportation lender.
Seaborne volumes will rise to 902 million metric tons by 2015, as shipments from Asia, the largest exporter of refined products, advance 6.7 percent and exports from Western Europe, the second-biggest shipper, contract as refineries shut, the Rotterdam-based bank said.
Asian exports will rise to 160 million tons over the period, as volumes shipped from Europe fall to 120 million tons by 2015, from 117 million tons last year, according to an e-mailed report today from the bank’s research and strategic planning division.
European exports of light distillates, which include naphtha, gasoline and ethanol that accounted for about 23 percent of the region’s cargoes in 2011 will fall 15 percent over the next few years, DVB said.
North America, which became a net exporter of oil products for the first time since 1949 last year, will boost shipments by 14 percent over the next three years, DVB forecast, due to demand in Latin America, and for the 2016 Olympics in Brazil. That may change how so-called Medium-Range tankers which carry cargoes of 35,000 to 50,000 tons of refined products are deployed, the report said.
“If North America’s capacity to produce gasoline continues to exceed domestic demand, the importance of the traditional Europe-to-East Coast North America product tanker trade route could greatly diminish,” the report said.
Routes for product tankers are changing as new refineries in Asia and the Middle East replace those in Europe. Middle East exports will rise 19 percent from 2011 to reach 111 million tons in 2015, led by cargoes to Asia, while Indian exports will advance 28 percent over the same period, DVB said. Exports of refined products out of the Baltic/Black Sea region will expand by 5 percent, led by demand from Europe, according to the report said.
Cargo demand growth will most benefit the largest product tankers, so called Long Range 2 vessels able to haul 90,000-ton cargoes, with demand for them rising 17 percent over the next four years, according to DVB. There are 2,990 vessels in the product tanker fleet, the bank said, with 334 vessels on order.
The global fleet will remain oversupplied in 2012, and rates may improve by early 2013 as Middle East refining capacity rises if older vessels are scrapped and removed from trading, DVB said.