One beneficiary of the EU's ban on Syrian oil is forecast to be owners of supertankers, the enormous ships that can carry up to 2 million barrels of crude.
Today Syrian oil makes the journey to Europe on vessels called aframaxes, which carry about a third of that amount to ports in Italy and France, Syria's top customers along with Germany.
Those nations were already hit by the shutdown in Libyan oil production, which is not expected to come fully online for at least another year. Without the prospect of renewed Libyan supplies, the EU nations will probably try to replace Syria's 1.5 per cent share of its crude supply with oil from the Gulf region. Saudi crude, sour with sulphur, is also a good match for the heavy oil mainly produced at Syria's ageing fields.
"This could have positive consequences for the tankers market and particularly for VLCC [very large crude carrier] owners," Edouard Baldini, an analyst at Goldman Sachs in London, wrote in a research note last week. Instead of a six-day journey from Syria to Italy, shippers would be looking at a 23-day voyage from the Gulf region to Europe.
The embargo could push up global tanker demand by 1.2 per cent, according to Mr Baldini.
Demand for supertankers could rise by twice that, he added, because Gulf crude tends to be carried on larger vessels such as VLCCs. That is a rare spot of good news for supertanker owners.
The number of supertankers is at its highest in 29 years, and the supply glut has pushed daily rental rates to a 14-year low.
Demand for supertankers is so low compared with the number of vessels available that last month the price of the benchmark journey from Saudi Arabia to Japan turned negative.