Four tankers are on their way to the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port, three likely carrying Iraqi crude and a fourth partly laden with unknown barrels, according to cFlow, Platts’ trade-flow software.
The VLCC Sophia sailed from Iraq through the Suez Canal and the Strait of Gibraltar and is now set to arrive at LOOP on December 2. Meanwhile, the Front Earl is taking a more traditional route around the Horn of Africa and is expected to arrive at LOOP on December 12.
The New Victory is a VLCC expected to arrive at LOOP on December 12, having sailed from Iraq as well using the southern Africa route.
The other tanker expected to arrive at LOOP is a bit of a mystery. The Panamax Antikeros is part laden and sailing from the Panama Canal. Prior to transiting the canal, Antikeros had made stops in Los Angeles and San Francisco, delivering crude or fuel oil it had picked up from Northwest Europe. The captain’s listed destination is the US Gulf Coast; however, cFlow projects it will arrive at LOOP on November 23.
So far in November, LOOP has imported 3.441 million fewer barrels of crude than in October and 1.375 million fewer barrels of Middle Eastern crude during this same time period. The fall in imported sour grades into LOOP corresponds with a widening spread between Dubai and WTI.
Week on week, Dubai’s premium over WTI has narrowed 24 cents/b to $3.72/b as of Friday. As Dubai-based crudes draw closer in value to WTI-based barrels, they become more competitive in US domestic markets, with an uptick in imports often seen.
Week on week, LOOP Sour crude has become lighter, rising to an API gravity of 29.83 degrees on Friday, according to LOOP data. In terms of sulfur content, LOOP Sour crude became more sour week on week, with an average sulfur content of 2.19% as of Friday.
The ‘In the LOOP’ Americas crude oil wrap runs each Monday in Crude Oil Marketwire, North American Crude and Products Scan and on the Platts Global Alert. You can read the FAQ: USGC LOOP Sour crude here and find the full special report LOOP Sour Crude: A benchmark for the future here. Also be sure to download our LOOP app by searching for ‘Platts LOOP’ in your app store.