x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 January 2018

15-strong new fleet for ADNOC

The first of a 15-strong new fleet of tankers and chemical carriers have been received by the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company.

The Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) yesterday received the first of 15 tankers and chemical carriers that will make it a major force in the Gulf’s shipping industry.

The company’s two tanker divisions operate 14 vessels shipping oil, natural gas, chemicals and equipment across the world. Over the next 11 months, ADNOC will take on the 15 new ships including yesterday’s delivery, a bulk carrier designed to transport sulphur.

The delivery “signifies the beginning of a major expansion of our fleet of tankers, bulk carriers and container vessels, which we have long been planning to achieve in order to meet the growing demand of the ADNOC group of companies”, said Ali al Yabhouni, the general manager of both shipping divisions.

The bulk carrier “will be traded also in the open market” when not needed by ADNOC, the company said. Abu Dhabi’s output of sulphur, plastics and oil products is set to increase sharply in the next five years as ADNOC completes expansions to refineries and chemical plants.

The company placed orders for the ships early last year as prices dipped and the tanker market entered a sustained downturn. Over the past 12 months, daily rental rates for very large crude carriers moving oil from the Gulf to eastern Asia have averaged more than US$37,300 (Dh136,999), a rise of 26.7 per cent compared with the same period the year earlier. Prices remain at a fraction of levels reached in late 2007 during the run up in global oil prices but rates fell sharply this summer and closed at $5,917 on Monday.

They “hovered near break-even levels during September”, said the International Energy Agency (IEA), a Paris-based group of energy consuming countries.

“Rates may have now ‘bottomed out’ due to the unwillingness of tanker owners to run their vessels at far below break even levels,” the IEA said this month.

Mr al Yabhouni had previously forecast a recovery in tanker rates by the end of last year and said the new orders were needed to support the expanding output of ADNOC.

The new fleet will employ 330 staff, including a large proportion of Emiratis, he said.