Tanker giant pledges to keep Gulf oil moving

LONDON The world's largest oil tanker owner said on Tuesday its ships would continue to serve Kuwait and other Gulf ports even if war broke out in Iraq.


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Published: Thu 13 Feb 2003, 2:56 AM

Last updated: Wed 1 Apr 2015, 8:23 PM

The promise offers some comfort to the crude market and oil-dependent economies which fear disruption to vital supplies from the region if hostilities begin.

'I don't see a problem at all. We will continue to serve Kuwait,' Tom Jebsen, finance director for Norway's Frontline, told Reuters.

Tom Jebsen also expressed little concern about serving the vital crude loading terminals in Iran or Saudi Arabia, but said that Iraqi ports 'might be a different matter.'

Frontline's fleet consists of 41 VLCC and 32 Suezmax tankers with a total capacity of 17 million deadweight tonnes.

Jebsen said he envisaged very few tankers loading up in Kuwait just after hostilities broke out but did not see disruption lasting.

'I can't imagine that anybody, either a ship owner or cargo owner, would want to go into Kuwait after the first 48-hours of the outbreak of war, though I don't imagine that lasting,' he said.

Jebsen said he foresaw war risk insurance premiums spiking higher in the first few days of conflict but nothing as dramatic as the 1988 Iran-Iraq war when insurance rose to over $1 million per voyage for a Very Large Crude Carrier.

However, the optimism expressed by Frontline's senior managment is tempered by caution by others in the sector.

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