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Monday, June 21, 2021

Maritime Logistics Professional

The waiting game

Posted to On the waterfront (by on November 19, 2009

As oil-filled tankers wait off the Devon coast, the value of their cargo is increasing by £1million a day. But how long can it go on for?

British newspapers have been going loony with stories about oil prices this week. It’s one of those subjects, like people on benefits or immigration, which gets everyone up in arms, ranting and raving that ‘something should be done’. 

For the people of Lyme Bay, near Brixham in Devon, that ‘something’ is all too obvious because, far from being a case of NIMBYism, their back yard is actually housing the petrol that we all need. 

A flotilla of ten tankers is currently just loitering off this beautiful part of the Devon coastline, and it’s been steadily growing for the last two months as other oil merchants see the potential increase in value for simply watching and waiting as the oil price goes up. 

As British motorists are being warned to expect prices at the pump of over £5 a gallon, it’s hard to be sympathetic to the greed of the oil traders, who may or may not be representative of the major oil producers as the oil can be bought and sold plenty of times along its journey from the ground to the pumps. 

The oil on these tankers has seen its value increase at a rate of around £1million a day as the price of a barrel of oil has shot up from $40 a year ago to around $80 day, with expectations that this is set to go higher. 

Perhaps the already cash-strapped motorists only hope is that this extent of oil speculation is already beginning to worry oil producing countries, as the Lyme Bay tankers are registered worldwide, including Liberia, the Bahamas and Norway. The OPEC oil cartel has made warnings of increase supply in order to reduce value if this practise continues. 

But while the oil traders and speculators are gaining such huge financial rewards from this common yet rather unseemly behaviour, who is going to be the first to relent? With some tankers having been in Lyme Bay for over two months, it doesn’t seem like their ready to shoot the golden goose just yet.