Three VLCCs departed the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port over the week ended December 8, with the crude cargoes on board bound for India and South Korea.
LOOP did not release the names of the vessels that were loaded and it was unclear exactly which VLCCs departed the port for export. However, cFlow, Platts’ trade flow software, reported that three laden or partially laden VLCCs exited LOOP last week.
The Khurais set sail from LOOP on December 5 and is bound for Kochi, India, according to cFlow. It is expected to arrive at the west coast of India on January 12. Another vessel, Lulu, left LOOP on December 7 and is expected to arrive at India’s east coast port of Paradip on January 19. The third VLCC, Maharah, was loaded at LOOP and set sail December 2. It is expected in Daesan, South Korea, on January 23.
The three VLCCs were loaded with crude sourced from LOOP’s Clovelly Hub, including a light sweet crude grade, most likely either LLS or WTI MEH, according to industry sources. The remaining two cargoes could contain Mars, Poseidon or LOOP Sour crude. The three VLCCs were loaded one after the other, representing a reduced overall load time at the port, according to LOOP.
Both sweet and sour grades have made their way to India and South Korea in recent months, including WTI MEH, Mars and Poseidon grades. The month two Dubai and month one WTI swap spread, has widened 41 cents/b to $6.75/b since the start of the fourth quarter. As Dubai’s premium over WTI increases, WTI-based grades become more competitive with comparable Dubai-based grades in export markets.
On Monday, S&P Global Platts assessed LOOP Sour CFR North Asia at $60.76/b, falling below the comparable values for competing grades Dubai, assessed at $62.33/b, and Basrah Light, at $61.88/b. The assessed WTI MEH CFR North Asia value of $63.93/b, while higher than competing grade Murban at $63.35/b, was still slightly lower than the CFR value of Forties at $64.01/b.
US crude oil exports surged to reach a new all-time high of 3.2 million b/d for the week ending November 30, according to data released last Thursday by the Energy Information Administration. The total surpassed the previous record of 3 million b/d, which occurred the week of June 22. The record exports helped create a draw on crude oil inventories, which came after 10 weeks of builds.