Supertanker Loads Diesel at Rotterdam in Latest Sign of Glut

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A supertanker is loading up with diesel-type fuel at a key European import hub for the petroleum product, a telling indicator of the region’s supply glut.

The Silverstone, a so-called very large crude carrier, is currently about half loaded at the port of Rotterdam, according to vessel-tracking data compiled by Bloomberg. Its depth in the water implies the tanker already has about 1 million barrels on board. The cargo being loaded is a diesel-type fuel, according to a person familiar with the matter.

In non-Covid times, north west Europe is structurally short of diesel, meaning the Dutch port receives cargoes from across the world. In recent months the regional dynamic has shifted, with almost 17 million barrels of the fuel being dispatched from Europe to the east coast of the U.S. It’s unclear where Silverstone will go next, but one possibility might be West Africa, another region that also has a shortage.

Supertanker Loads Diesel at Rotterdam in Latest Sign of Glut

Lockdowns and restrictions in multiple European countries to combat the spread of Covid-19 have sapped the continent’s demand, while booming freight activity and cold weather are having the opposite effect on diesel consumption in the U.S., causing the surge in shipments across the Atlantic.

VLCCs like the Silverstone tend to be used to carry giant cargoes of crude oil between continents. Newbuild versions of the vessels, yet to be tainted with crude, can be used to carry diesel, and the Silverstone was used for that purpose last year, hauling the fuel and jet fuel west from the Middle East.

Tanker analytics firm Kpler has also said the Silverstone has loaded diesel-type fuel in the Rotterdam area.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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