Conoco Books Tanker to Ship Libyan Oil to U.S., Shipbrokers Say

ConocoPhillips booked an oil tanker to haul Libyan crude to the U.S. as the North African country boosts output following the overthrow of Muammar Qaddafi last year, data from shipbrokers including Poten & Partners show.

The Donat, a 1 million-barrel carrier owned by Zadar, Croatia-based Tankerska Plovidba DD, was hired to load 135,000 metric tons of crude on Jan. 31 and sail to the U.S. Gulf Coast, data from New York-based Poten show. The shipment is the first of its kind since September when the holder of Africa’s largest oil reserves began resuming seaborne exports, according to the broker’s lists of tanker charters on Bloomberg.

The absence of Libyan production helped crude traded in London reach a 2011 high of $127.02 a barrel in April. The benchmark Brent grade has since dropped 12 percent to $111.49. The resumption of the nation’s supply comes as Iran threatens to block the Strait of Hormuz, renewing concern about the global oil supply.

“For Conoco and other U.S. oil companies, increased access to Libyan crude would be very helpful as new trade relationships are being built,” Samuel Ciszuk, an oil consultant at KBC Energy Economics in Walton-on-Thames, England, said by phone yesterday. “This is another sign of how fast Libya, one of the world’s biggest suppliers, is returning to the market.”

Libya boosted shipments to 800,000 barrels a day in December, compared with 555,000 a month before and 1.3 million barrels before last year’s uprising disrupted exports, the International Energy Agency said in a report Jan. 18. Normal production will resume by the middle of this year, Nuri Berruien, chairman of state-run National Oil Corp., said last month.

(Source: Bloomberg Businessweek)

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