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West Africa Tanker-Rate Surge Seen Luring Persian Gulf Ships

Dec. 19 (Bloomberg) -- A surge in oil-tanker rates for vessels shipping West African crude to the U.S. may restrict ship supply in the Persian Gulf as the rally lures vessels to the Atlantic Ocean, Arctic Securities ASA said.

Earnings rose more than threefold to $27,091 a day this month for ships hauling 1 million-barrel cargoes of West African oil to the U.S., according to data from the Baltic Exchange in London. Very large crude carriers with twice the capacity are making $19,093 shipping Persian Gulf oil to Japan, the bourse’s data show.

The price rally from West Africa may cause owners to send VLCCs in ballast to the region after the ships deliver cargoes to Asia, Arctic analyst Erik Nikolai Stavseth said in an e-mailed note today. That would limit how many are available in the Persian Gulf, the normal return destination, he said. Ballasting normally refers to sailing with sea water to keep a ship stable when it doesn’t have a cargo.

VLCC charter rates for Saudi Arabia to Japan, measured in industry-standard Worldscale points, gained 1.9 percent to 49.09, according to the exchange. For 1 million-barrel carrying Suezmaxes, they advanced 7 percent to 80.09.

The Baltic Dirty Tanker Index, an overall measure of crude oil transportation costs, climbed 0.6 percent to 779 points, the highest since April 30.

To contact the reporter on this story: Alaric Nightingale in London at anightingal1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Alaric Nightingale at anightingal1@bloomberg.net

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