Asian oil markets have considerably tightened after a little more than a year of OPEC-initiated output reduction, as big volumes of stored crude have been unloaded from tankers and transported to customers in the region.
Some 15 filled super-tankers are at the moment stationed off the Singaporean and Malaysian coasts, chief regional storage centre for oil arriving from the Middle East, as the data shows.
In November the number was a little bigger, and twice as many tankers were engaged in the middle of 2017. Land tanks in Asia are no more completely reserved, which is a significant change of 2016-2017 situation called tank-top when oil markets were overabundant to the extent they had no free storage facilities, traders say.
The primary goal for OPEC and Russia was to influence the prices of oil by curbing supply. Oil prices for instant delivery, in case of excessive supply, usually keep below those for future dispatch, which is called contango, a market structure encouraging traders to amass crude to sell later.
Conversely, now when markets are tighter, spot prices are higher compared to those for future delivery, giving no reason to stockpile oil.