As Middle East crude oil exports are a vital part of the tanker market, it’s worth taking a look at the latest market fundamentals. In a recent weekly report, shipping broker Banchero Costa said that âKuwait is the fourth largest exporter of crude oil to the Middle East after Saudi Arabia, Iraq and the United Arab Emirates. Exports have been quite stable in recent years and, perhaps surprisingly, remain stable this year as well, despite everything that is going on in the world. This has been facilitated, no doubt, by a strong concentration in Asian markets. Up to 92% of Kuwait’s crude exports are shipped east of Suez. Almost all Kuwaiti exports are loaded at the Mina al Ahmadi terminal. About 60% of the volumes are transported in VLCCs. In the first 10 months of 2020, Kuwait exported at least 83.4 million tonnes of crude oil by sea, according to ship tracking data from Refinitiv â.
Banchero Costa said that âthis represents a net increase of + 0.5% year-on-year, compared to the 83.0 million tonnes exported in the same ten-month period of 2019. Export volumes this year were strongly affected by OPEC quota policies. When OPEC opened in early 2020, Kuwait’s exports remained very high on a seasonal basis, but when OPEC began to impose production cuts, exports were cut from June. As a result, the first quarter of 2020 was very positive, with Kuwait exporting 27.5 million tonnes of crude oil transported by sea, which is a strong increase of + 9.8% compared to the same period of the year. last. However, the second quarter of 2020 has already turned out to be much more negative, with oil prices plummeting and demand from Europe and Asia evaporating. During the period April-June 2020, Kuwait’s maritime crude oil exports declined -3.9% year-on-year to 23.6 million tonnes. In June 2020, as OPEC again implemented production restrictions, Kuwait’s export volumes fell to just 6.9 million tonnes, down -13.1% year-on-year, and the lowest monthly figure since 2016.
The broker added that âthings were equally disappointing in the third quarter. Between July and September, Kuwait exported 23.9 million tonnes of crude oil, down 6.4% from 25.5 million tonnes exported in the same quarter last year. The vast majority of Kuwaiti exports are shipped to East Asia. Of Kuwait’s total exports this year, 25.4% or 21.2 million tonnes were destined for mainland China. Volumes to China increased this year by + 19.2% year-on-year. An additional 6.9 million tonnes were shipped to Taiwan, representing 8.3% of Kuwaiti crude exports. However, volumes to Taiwan decreased this year by -11.2% year-on-year. An additional 15.2 million tonnes, representing 18.2% of the total, were shipped to South Korea. Shipments to South Korea also declined this year, by -13.7% year-on-year.
âOn the other hand, exports to Japan increased + 2.5% year-on-year to 10.1 million tonnes, with Japan accounting for 12.1% of Kuwait’s total exports. Shipments to ASEAN also increased, + 25.1% year-on-year to 14.7 mln tonnes. Of these, 8.1 mln tonnes were shipped to Vietnam, 3.4 mln t to Singapore, 1.4 mln t to Myanmar. Shipments to ASEAN represent 17.6% of Kuwait’s exports. Exports to India are down slightly, from â4.4% year on year to 8.6 mln tonnes. Volumes to the United States are down -66.2% year-on-year to just 0.7 mln tonnes, âconcluded Banchero Costa
Nikos Roussanoglou, Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide