Trump’s stated earlier today via Twitter that “Looks like OPEC is at it again. With record amounts of Oil all over the place, including the fully loaded ships at sea, Oil prices are artificially Very High! No good and will not be accepted!”
While it remains unclear the metric Donald Trump is referring to in his tweet, our data does not suggest any recent builds in global floating storage volumes. Kpler long-term floating storage, which defines crude stored on vessels for more than 30 days, is currently at levels below 8 million barrels, according to the 10-day moving average. Even the Aframax Delta Pioneer, which had been storing Urals in the Baltics since April 20th, 2016, recently delivered to Mongstad.
Furthermore, there has been no evidence of floating storage builds in the Middle Eastern region. Even near Iran, where the possibility of a breakdown of the JCPOA (the Iran nuclear deal) has not had any noticeable effect on long-term floating storage. Only one VLCC, the Deep Sea, has been idled close to Kharg Island since February 26th.
Oil-on-water, which includes a summation of floating storage and oil-in-transit, realized a decrease of more than 80+ million barrels through Q1 2018 with much of this decline a result of seasonal refinery maintenance. Of course, there were significant builds in short-term floating storage off the coast of China through the month of March, but this was largely a result of port congestion and not necessarily a direct function of OPEC action. Floating storage volumes near China have rapidly declined over the past 2-weeks.