Table 1: Saudi state tanker firm Vela has downsized radically in the past four years, according to the latest OPEC Annual Statistical Bulletin (ASB). Vela slashed the number of its tankers by over half since 2008, amid an overall rise, albeit a modest one, in OPEC tanker capacity.

Last year, Vela announced it would merge with the National Shipping Company of Saudi Arabia (Bahri) in a $1.3bn deal, which would see the new Bahri become the world’s fourth biggest owner of Very Large Crude Carriers (VLCCs), with 31. The deal was to have been finalized last November (MEES, 26 October 2012), but this July Bahri announced it was still awaiting the regulatory approvals needed for final merger implementation. In addition to a cash payment, Vela will take a 20% stake in the new firm. (CONTINUED - 378 WORDS)