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.