Russia's second largest crude oil producer the Yukos Oil Company is preparing a second massive crude oil shipment to the United States, moving swiftly after this month's inaugural sailing, trading sources said yesterday.
The move took many oil traders by surprise, as most thought the maiden voyage had been a largely political gesture following a presidential summit last month that stressed the need to strengthen energy ties between the world's top energy consumer and the second largest exporter of crude.
Market sources said Yukos chartered the very large crude carrier (VLCC) Luxembourg to carry two million barrels of Urals crude to the US Gulf around July 13th, just one month after it moved the first ever VLCC of Urals to the US.
They said that the crude was likely to be lifted on 80,000-tonne ships out of the Black Sea port Kavkaz and transferred, either ship-to-ship or by placing it in storage in Greece, to the super-tanker.
VLCCs are too large to sail fully laden through the Turkish Bosphorus Straits or the Danish Straights in northwest Europe, a major impediment to the economies of scale that allow other crudes to profit from extended voyages.
The crude has already been offered to US buyers, but traders said they did not think the cargo had been sold.
The choice of the city of Helsinki is not incidental as the capital of Finland had hosted US-Soviet negotiations on the limitation of nuclear stockpiles in 1969