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Friday, September 21, 2018


US oil imports support the strong VLCC market

The extremely strong VLCC market, back again at some USD 95,000 per day on 21 July 2004, was supported by strong U.S. crude oil imports. U.S. crude oil imports Jan-mid July have on average been close to 10 million barrels per day, or almost 7% above the level for the same period in 2003.

A significant part of the U.S. crude oil imports have gone into stock building. Commercial stocks on 2 July peaked at 305 million barrels, the highest since August 2002; however over the following two weeks stocks declined to 299 million barrels. Strategic stocks have reached an all-time high of 663 million barrels, which was 8% above the same level in 2003 and 11% above the average for the last three years.

Total stocks have increased by some 75 million barrels over the last year, which equals some 37 VLCC loads of two million barrels. With the average increase in US oil imports of some 0.7 million barrels per day amounting to 255 million barrels over a year, that means about one third of the increase in U.S. crude oil imports has gone into stock building.

Average U.S. distillate imports Jan-16 July (0.373 million barrels per day) were marginally above last year’s level for the same period. Gasoline imports Jan-16 July this year (0.839 million barrels per day) were 5% below the level for the same period last year, according to “Official Energy Statistics from the U.S. Government”.

Contact: Erik Ranheim