The buildup of Saudi crude oil on tankers offshore Egypt’s Red Sea terminal of Ain Sukhna which began in June is proving slow to unwind (MEES, 30 June). As MEES went to press, tankers carrying approximately 16mn barrels of Saudi crude oil had been anchored off Ain Sukhna for at least a week according to data intelligence firm Kpler. Ain Sukhna is the Red Sea terminal of the Sumed pipeline system, linking the facility to the Mediterranean port of Sidi Kerir. Sumed enables crude to be transferred to the Mediterranean for onwards shipment while bypassing the Suez Canal which cannot handle fully laden VLCC tankers.

The cause of the backlog appears to be a surge in shipments to Ain Sukhna over the summer, which has filled up Sumed’s storage facilities. Kpler data indicates Sidi Kerir inventories are beginning to fall, which could enable the bottlenecks to ease. (CONTINUED - 148 WORDS)