Unipec Remains the World’s Top Dirty Spot Charterer

TankerIllustration. Image Courtesy: Pixabay under CC0 Creative Commons license

Unipec, the trading arm of China’s state-run oil company Sinopec, remained at the top of the list of the world’s largest dirty spot charterers, according to an annual survey by tanker brokers Poten & Partners.

The latest ranking of the largest dirty spot charterers showed that, besides staying at the top, Unipec has also strengthened its position as its share grew from 13.8% in 2017 to 14.7% last year.

Shell remained a distant second, while IOC and Vitol traded places with IOC moving up to 3rd and Vitol down to 4th. ExxonMobil pulled itself back into the top 10. Valero is a new entry into the top 20, while Equinor (former Statoil) dropped out.

In the VLCC segment, Unipec continued to grow. In 2018, Poten & Partners counted 703 reported fixtures for the Chinese charterer, more than the 2nd through 8th largest VLCC charterers combined.

Shell moved up from 5th to 2nd, while PetroChina dropped a few places. Asian charterers and Western supermajors (Shell, ExxonMobil and Total) continued to dominate the VLCC segment.

Hyundai moved into the top 10, replacing S Oil, another Korean charterer. The total number of reported VLCC spot fixtures increased by 7.8% from 2,119 in 2017 to 2,284 in 2018.

In 2018, Repsol had 181 Suezmax fixtures, one more than Chevron and five more than Shell. This was enough for Repsol to leapfrog both companies and land in first place.

Poten & Partners explained that the rest of the top positions in the Suezmax segment remained largely the same. Compared to 2017, ENI and Unipec dropped out of the top 10, but they are still ranked 11th (Unipec) and 12th (ENI). They have been replaced in the top 10 by BPCL and ExxonMobil, who were just outside the top 10 in the prior year. The total number of reported Suezmax fixtures in 2018 increased by 15% from 2,560 to 2,944.

Vitol remained the largest Aframax charterer, while fellow traders Glencore (9th) and Trafigura (10th) lost some ground compared to 2017. The Western supermajors (Shell, BP, Total, Chevron and ExxonMobil) also maintained a strong presence in the Aframax segment. The number of reported Aframax spot fixtures in 2018 declined by 8.6%, or 332, to 3,551.

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