Medium-sour crudes from the U.S. Gulf of Mexico are being snapped up by overseas buyers, paving the way for a record six supertankers to load at the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port in a matter of weeks, people familiar with the matter tell Reuters.
The six scheduled loadings in late May and early June would double the record of Very Large Crude Carriers reached in December. An unusual influx of Gulf of Mexico crudes to the U.S. deepwater export port and weakening prices are contributing to the exports, Reuters reports.
Mars Sour, a Gulf of Mexico crude produced by Royal Dutch Shell Plc, traded at a $4.40 a barrel premium to U.S. crude futures on June 3, falling from its 2019 peak of around $8.10 premium in mid-February.
Following U.S. sanctions on Venezuela and Iran, and production cuts by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, U.S. medium-sour grades including Mars are helping fill Asian oil buyers’ needs for new sources of supply.
Three supertankers are expected to load at LOOP through the middle of June, the person familiar with the matter said.
In recent weeks, more crude produced in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico has been piped to LOOP for loading onto vessels instead of to domestic refiners, trade sources said.