UAE Crude Oil Exports Have Suffered Since the Start of 2021
2021 has proven quite challenging so far for crude oil tankers. An example has been the fall in crude oil tanker loadings in the UAE, the third largest crude oil exporter in the Middle East. In its latest weekly report, shipbroker Banchero Costa said that “the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is the third largest exporter of crude oil in the Middle East after Saudi Arabia and Iraq. Exports proved resilient last year, regardless of the pandemic. This has been aided, no doubt, by a strong focus on Asian markets. As much as 99% of UAE’s exports are shipped east of Suez. Total crude oil loadings from the UAE in the 12 months of 2020 actually increased by +0.9% year-onyear to 142.1 million tonnes, according to revised vessels tracking data from Refinitiv”.
According to the shipbroker, “2021, however, is proving more difficult so far. In the first 4 months of 2021, seaborne crude oil exports from the UAE declined by -18.4% y-o-y compared to the same period of 2020. This “decline” however is to a large extend due to the comparison with what was an exceptionally positive first quarter in 2020. In the first 3 months of 2020, the UAE exported 39.7 mln tonnes of crude oil, up by a very strong +21.1% year-on-year. The second quarter of 2020 saw shipments of 35.5 mln tonnes from the UAE, up +5.9% y-o-y. In the third quarter, exports declined to 35.0 mln tonnes, which was down -1.9% y-o-y. The fourth quarter of 2020 saw just 31.9 mln tonnes, down -17.8% on a year-on-year basis. Exports in the first quarter of 2021 were 31.7 mln tonnes, which was down -20.0% y-o-y on the same three-month period of 2020.
Banchero Costa added that “volumes in April 2021 were at 12.5 mln tonnes, down -14.1% y-o-y, although this are preliminary figures which could be slightly revised upwards. The vast majority of UAE oil exports are shipped from Abu Dhabi Emirate, west of the Strait of Hormuz – in the 12 months of 2020 it was 44.1 mln tonnes from Zirku Island, 31.6 mln tonnes from Das Island, 17.4 mln tonnes from Jebel Dhanna/Ruwais, and 1.8 mln t from MubarrazIsland. About 2.9 mln tonnes were shipped from the Dubai Emirate, mostly from the Fateh terminal. The remaining third of the UAE’s exports were shipped from the coast east of the Strait of Hormuz – 41.2 mln tonnes from Fujairah, and 2.6 mln tonnes from Khor Fakkan (part of Sharjah Emirate)”.
The shipbroker added that “the vast majority (75%) of UAE crude oil exports are loaded on VLCCs, with 16% on Suezmaxes. In 2020, 105.6 mln tonnes were shipped on VLCCs, 22.5 mln tonnes on Suezmaxes, 13.2 mln tonnes on Aframaxes. Trade patterns for UAE crude oil exports tend to be quite long haul, with the vast majority of volumes going to Asia. The mix of destinations changed quite strongly last year. About 25.2% of shipments in 2020 were sent to Japan. Exports to Japan, however, declined in 2020 by -12.5% y-o-y to 35.8 mln tonnes. Mainland China accounted for 19.6% of UAE exports in 2020. Shipments to China surged in 2020, by +118.0% y-o-y to 27.8 mln tonnes. 19% of shipments in 2020 were sent to the ASEAN region. These declined by -18.0% y-o-y in 2020 to 27.1 mln tonnes 15.9% of exports in 2020 were to India. Shipments to India increased by +15.8% y-o-y in 2020 to 22.6 mln tonnes. The first 4 months of 2021 have been disappointing across the board. Shipments from the UAE to Japan were down by -23.0% y-o-y in JanApr 2021 to 12.2 mln tonnes. To ASEAN it was down -26.1% y-o-y to 8.3 mln tonnes. To Mainland China it was down -14.2% y-o-y to 6.4 mln tonnes. To India down -10.9% y-o-y to 8.1 mln tonnes”, Banchero Costa concluded.
Nikos Roussanoglou, Hellenic Shipping News Worldwide