Market research on the top charterers of short-term transport contracts for fuel oils and other less-refined oil has seen Unipec extend its lead over competitors in the sector by a significant margin.
The Chinese-based charterer was up nearly 20% year-on-year in one important segment, according to research compiled by energy and ship brokerage Poten & Partners.
“In the VLCC segment, Unipec is extending its lead at the top. In 2017, we counted 611 reported fixtures for the Chinese charterer, 87 more than in 2016,” the New York firm’s report said.
Asian charterers continued their dominance of the VLCC segment in 2017, with seven of the top 10 VLCC dirty spot charterers domiciled in China, India or South Korea.
Chevron kept its hold on the lead in the Suezmax segment, followed by Shell, which increased its spot market fixtures by some 50% year-over-year. Unipec drew down its activity in the Suzemax segment by 30% in 2017, dropping to 10th place.
Among Aframax dirty spot charterers, Vitol kept the top spot, with oil majors Exxon, Shell, Chevron, BP and Total all continuing to feature prominently in the segment.
Overall, dirty spot charter fixtures were up by 3.6%, year-on-year. VLCC spot fixtures increased by 7.9% and Suezmax by 9%, while Aframax spot fixtures declined by 1.6% in 2017.
The top four dirty spot charterers overall remained unchanged from 2016 to 2017, with Shell, Vitol and Ioc following Unipec in second, third and fourth places, respectively.
Exxon Mobile saw the largest move among the sector’s leaders, falling eight places – fifth to thirteenth – from 2016 to 2017.