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What's gonna happen to the Russia's oil fleet?

Russia’s foreign partners should expect essential expansion of Russian fleet soon, and, consequently, an increase of export supplies, according to Braemar Seascope group’s experts. The global demand for oil and petroleum products is on its ever-high level now, and it keeps growing.

Russia’s foreign partners should expect essential expansion of Russian fleet soon, and, consequently, an increase of export supplies, according to Braemar Seascope group’s experts.

The global demand for oil and petroleum products is on its ever-high level now, and it keeps growing. The petroleum products’ largest consumer still is the United States (the USA and Canada consumer 3.5 tons of oil per capita annually, China consumes 2.5 tons).
Today Russia produces over 20 % of world petroleum output, and it’s very likely to increase this figure manifold in 10-15 years, if consider the increased interest of the country in oil and gas deliveries to the Far East, in exploration of new deposits, in the Arctic region in particular.

Delivery of all produced oil through the pipelines up to the consuming countries seems to be impossible. Thus Russia has to increase its tanker fleet anyway. And we already have the growth potential in the field.

According to the data of Braemar Seascope’s head Colin Cridland, the volume of the Russian crude oil export deliveries constantly grows. Thus, in 2007 Russia supplies 80 million tons of crude oil through the Baltic ports, 113 million tons through the Black sea ports, and 12.9 million tons through the Far East and the Arctic region.

And it should be noted, that the potential of the Baltic ports (as well as the Black sea ports) is limited by the low current level of infrastructure development and investments insufficiency. If Baltic oil exports remain at the same level, the Black sea exports slightly decrease. Reshipments increased only in the Russia’s Arctic region (from 9 million tons in 2005 up to 12.9 million in 2007).

The tanker fleet, used for crude oil shipments, now consists of the following vessels: Handy tankers of 20-39.9 thousand tons deadweight, MR product tankers (40-54.9 thousand tons), Panamax tankers (59-79.9 thousand tons), Aframax tankers (80-124.9 thousand tons), Suezmax tankers (125-199.9 thousand tons) and VLCC tankers (200 and more thousand tons). In the majority of cases the export deliveries are performed by Aframax class tankers; Suezmax ships are the second-best.

The Baltic ports fleet mostly consists of Aframax ships. However, their share decreases due to Suezmax tankers’ increasing number; because the fleet is being retrofitted at the moment, first of all under Sovkomflot’s orders.

The Black sea ports fleet mainly consists of Aframax tankers as well; moreover their number constantly increases while Suezmax ships’ share declines. It was motivated by the Turkish party’s pressure, which insists on use of smaller vessels to easily pass through Bosporus. The number of Panamax ships, MR product tankers and handysize tankers in the Black Sea basin practically does not change.

The structure of the Far East tanker fleet is also unstable. If in 2006 the share of Aframax ships steadily grew the last year, then in 2007 it dropped. And, conversely, the share of tankers of MR type has decreased in 2006, but this year it has increased again.

Russia mostly uses Aframax and Suezmax tankers for Arctic crude oil supplies to the North America, and MR product tankers along with handy-size tankers for Europe.

This year, when the scientists and politicians from all over the world turned all their attention to the North, the Arctic transport operators significantly recovered, so in the long term the further expansion of Arctic tanker fleet is expected. The Russian experts agree with the western ones, calculating that by 2020 the Russian Arctic fleet will own 96 units and, working year-round, will be able to ship up to 40 million tons of oil per year, if taking into account the vessels constructed Rosneft. Lukoil, Norilsk nickel, Sovkomflot and Murmansk Shipping Company.

According to our data, a lot of the domestic oil and gas companies have already ordered or are going to order the newest oil carriers from the shipbuilding companies.

Well, we can only hope that our country can create competitive oil transport fleet and enter the international oil transportation market, being able to challenge such serious players of the market, as the Great Britain and the USA.



Author: Alexander Darmin

Source : Neftegaz.RU Magazine