Archive for the ‘shipping’ Category

Dirt devil: Airlines filter through info on latest fuel quality issue

At the Platts Middle Distillates Conference in Antwerp, Belgium, in late January, those attending spoke a diesel-focused language, this being Europe where people mostly drive diesel cars even after the VW scandal.

So I had to filter out a lot of information to get any dirt on jet fuel — also a middle distillate. And what did they talk about for jet fuel? Not prices or inventories. But filters. And dirt.

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Lay-ups loom in the dry freight market

I stare out my office window on the 23rd floor and there they are, stretched out as far as my eyes can see, dry bulk vessels sitting pretty in the Singapore strait.

Although each vessel is of a different shape and size they all have one common enemy — unemployment.

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The Panama Canal is leaking!? Eh…who cares, LNG trade seems to say

During routine testing of the expanded Panama Canal, engineers recently discovered some alarmingly large leaks in the new Cocoli Locks on the Pacific side, separating the middle and lower chambers. Despite the startling volume of water that can be seen cascading through what appears to be several meters of solid concrete, news of this development seems to have remained a secret. Alternatively, perhaps it’s just that no one actually cares.

According to the Panama Canal Authority, LNG tanker traffic is expected to reach 25 million metric tons per year upon completion of the expansion project. In recent years, LNG export project developers along the US Gulf Coast have been banking on an expanded canal for sales to Asia. Indeed, according to some estimates, the transit distance from the US Gulf Coast to Japan can be reduced to around 9,215 nautical miles, compared with 14,570 nautical miles through the Suez Canal.

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US crude-by-barge industry faces rough waters in oil markets: Petrodollars

While pipelines and rail are often the transportation modes that spring to mind for moving oil in the US, there’s also a market for inland barges. In this week’s Oilgram News column, Petrodollars, Joshua Mann assesses how the market to move oil has shifted under pressure from crude prices.

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Seaborne nickel ore trade still a deadly ‘game of Russian roulette’

“Carrying solid bulk cargoes involves serious risks, which must be managed carefully to safeguard the crew and the ship. These risks include reduced ship stability (and even capsizing) due to cargo liquefaction; fire or explosion due to chemical hazards; and damage to ship structures due to poor loading procedures.” — The opening paragraph of the introduction of Carrying Solid Bulk Cargoes Safely guide, published in 2013 by UK classification society Lloyd’s Register, in association with the UK P&I Club and Intercargo, the trade association for dry bulk shipowners and operators.

A suspected case of cargo liquefaction may have indirectly claimed the life of one seafarer on Friday, July 17, 2015, aboard the 2007-built Supramax Alam Manis in the northern Philippines, just six months after the same phenomenon claimed 19 souls on a Supramax carrying bauxite.

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Asia drawing better purchase terms for Mideast crude as competition intensifies

There is little doubt that additional crude oil supplies from Iran will intensify competition among Middle Eastern producers, which are already fighting to secure their share of Asia’s dynamic markets against the influx of barrels from western hemisphere suppliers that can no longer rely on the US market.

Tehran’s July 14 nuclear deal with six world powers will eventually lead to additional flows of Iranian oil onto world markets, but oil minister Bijan Zanganeh has already said the thrust of the marketing focus will be on Asia, where Iran has been able to maintain a foothold in the four key consuming countries.

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Ineos sends Europe a fracking message about gas; next stop, upstream

As the champagne bottles smashed into the side of the two newly-built ships that in November will bring the first cargo of US shale gas into Europe, billionaire chairman of Ineos Jim Ratcliffe sent a clear message to European lawmakers whose energy policies have stalled his plans to frack for gas in Europe.

Emblazoned down the side of the two freshly-named vessels — the Ineos Insight and Ineos Ingenuity — were the words “Shale Gas for Manufacturing” and “Shale Gas for Chemicals.”

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US LNG exports: A move toward gas market price convergence

Much has been written in recent years about the potential impact of upcoming US LNG exports. Market analysts have pondered the likely effect on domestic US natural gas prices, gas production rates, domestic employment, GDP and even consumption by related petrochemical and agricultural industries. On the global stage, many expect that at current price levels US gas could flood the European and South American markets, pushing Atlantic Basin gas prices to new lows.

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Regulation & Environment: US oil struggles to unite over regulation reforms

In this week’s Oilgram News column, Regulation & Environment, Brian Scheid describes how different segments of the US oil industry are grappling with which policies they feel most in need of revisions given the temptation of foreign markets for domestic crude.

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The sinking of a bauxite carrier, and why it could have been avoided

“Hear us when we cry to thee for those in peril on the sea.” —From the Naval Hymn, Eternal Father, Strong to Save, words by William Whiting, popularised by Britain’s Royal Navy and the US Navy.

The capsizing and sinking of a less than 10-year old Supramax dry bulk carrier the Bulk Jupiter on January 2 with the loss of all but one of the crew and marine insurers, has led to speculation on the cause. The consensus appears to be that more than likely it was cargo liquefaction, serves as a stark reminder about the importance of following safety procedures and best practices in the handling and loading of dry bulk carriers.

The incident follows a sustained period of relatively few losses of dry bulk carriers at sea, in contrast to the heavy losses sustained through much of the 1990s. The 2006-built Bulk Jupiter (56,000 dwt) was carrying a cargo of bauxite–a commodity not previously considered to be prone to liquefaction–from Kuantan in Malaysia to China, when it capsized and sank on January 2, having embarked on its voyage on December 29.

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