October 2, 2019 / 6:13 PM / a month ago

SK Energy charters supertanker for record $10 million to ship U.S. crude to South Korea: sources

NEW YORK/HOUSTON (Reuters) - South Korea’s top refiner SK Energy chartered a supertanker to ship U.S. crude to South Korea in November for a record $10 million as freight rates surge after U.S. sanctions on a Chinese firm, sources familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.

The company fixed the Very Large Crude Carrier (VLCC) Maxim to load between Nov. 8-12, three shipping sources said. It was the highest-priced shipment from the U.S. Gulf Coast to Asia on record, based on data going back to about 2013, before a ban on U.S. crude exports was lifted, two of the sources said.

South Korea is one of the biggest buyers of U.S. crude this year, with U.S. shipments totaling 531,000 barrels per day (bpd) in July, up from 226,000 bpd in the same month last year, according to the latest available data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

SK could not immediately be reached for comment.

Reporting by Devika Krishna Kumar in New York and Collin Eaton in Houston; Editing by Kirsten Donovan

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