Middle EastTankers

Saudi Aramco tipped to lead clean tanker charge

As Saudi Aramco’s clientele increasingly faces east, its fleet needs are expected to change dramatically from dirty to clean tankers, according to the latest report from Alphatanker, part of AXS Marine.

The lion’s share of Saudi crude is now exported to Asia rather than across the Atlantic. As a result of this Alphatanker is predicting Aramco’s fleet – both owned and chartered – will shift towards clean tankers.

Subsidiary Bahri currently controls a fleet of 76 tankers of which 45 are VLCCs.

“It is noteworthy that Bahri has no crude tankers on order which may reflect the fact that they do not expect crude exports to increase significantly,” Alphatanker noted, adding: “As Aramco moves further into the downstream, it seems logical that it will diversify its tanker fleet as the volume of clean products it ships will rise which will see the ‘call’ on its tanker fleet increase.”

Notably, Bahri has not placed any orders for additional clean tankers to add to its fleet of 31 MRs, which leads Alphatanker to suggest that Aramco’s trading arm – Aramco Trading Company (ATC) – will either resort to spot chartering or increase its fleet of 20 vessels currently controlled under time charter.

Also of note in Aramco’s new Asia-focused business model is a recently created subsidiary, Aramco Chemicals (ACC), which will handle the sales and shipping of Aramco’s share of petrochemicals produced by its joint ventures in Asia.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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