It's not just human health that's in jeopardy from the Covid-19 pandemic. The fossil fuel industry is taking a pounding. Part of it is the decline in energy consumption from economies that are largely shutting down due to the virus. International air travel has tanked. People are being told to work at home and stay there. There's a glut of fuel on the markets and prices aren't expected to get out of the $30 per bbl doldrums any time soon.
Then there's the oil war underway between Russia and Saudi Arabia. The Saudis wanted production cutbacks. Russia refused. The Saudis intend to retaliate by flooding world markets with ultra-cheap oil.
How that going? Well it's creating a seller's market for supertanker operators. Supertanker rates have soared 678 per cent.
Just before the OPEC+ break-up on March 6, daily rates for VLCCs were in the low $30,000s. At the end of last week, the cost to charter a supertanker had surged to $200,000-$300,000 a day, depending on the destination of the crude oil cargo, brokers told The Journal.