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Asian oil buyers hiring smaller ships as supertanker rates soar

Asian oil refiners target smaller vessels to carry their crude oil after a Saudi Arabian booking spree has made VLCC rates skyrocket.

Photo: Edgar Su/Reuters/Ritzau Scanpix

A growing number of Asian oil refiners are looking to hire smaller vessels to carry crude from the Persian Gulf after a Saudi Arabian booking spree spurred a surge in supertanker rates.

The cost of shipping oil on Very Large Crude Carriers on the widely referenced Middle East to China route has jumped around 350% over the past week. However, chartering rates for smaller Suezmax and Aframax vessels haven’t caught up yet, with the cost to hire an Aframax up just 34% over the period.

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