Shuttle tanker market is set to rise steadily in the coming years in countries with robust offshore oil production and limited subsea pipeline infrastructure, as volumes in need of shipping climb to 3.3bn barrels per year before the end of the decade, or some 35% from 2021, a new Rystad Energy report suggests.
With the exception of 2018 and 2021, five key shuttle tanker markets – Brazil, Canada, Norway, the UK and Russia have seen increased utilisation year-on-year since 2013 and this activity is set to grow further by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.5% between 2021 and 2030.
According to Rystad, the shuttle tanker market is one of the smallest shipping market segments, with nearly 100 vessels in operation and a handful on order. The North Sea and the Norwegian side of the Barents Sea have around 25 shuttle tankers in operation. The North Sea will be a crucial driver for increased activity as a new investment spree follows the Norwegian government’s tax regime. Brazil is the largest market with 40 vessels and three times the production of the North Sea. From 2026, the South American country is expected to account for more than half of the shuttle market demand.
“There is a need for a new influx of shuttle tankers to meet the increasing demand and replace some of the ageing capacity that will be taken out of service. Crude oil extraction will continue for many years to come and, given the robust economics and competitiveness of the offshore industry, new investments in offshore production are likely to continue building, ensuring a bright future lies ahead for the shuttle tanker industry,” said Oddmund Føre, senior vice president of energy service research with Rystad Energy.