Dude Where’s My Tanker?

Oil prices are trying to stage a rebound after a late day petroleum price swoon on concerns that an oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz has gone missing. Reports that oil production and refinery operations are starting to come back online in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Barry was the main reason for the weakness, yet the impact from the storm will be felt in the inventory data for weeks to come. Oil had also felt pressure from talk that tensions may be easing with Iran after Iran said it was open to talks with the U.S. if we lift sanctions, and there’s also talk that the UK would release the Iranian oil tanker they had in custody, if they were assured by Iran that it was not headed to Libya. Yet reports of a missing UAE oil tanker, that may be in custody of Iran, may start to put some Iranian risk premium back into the market. Dude, where’s my tanker? 

Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei did not seem to be in the mood for negotiation with the UK. He called the seizure of an Iranian tanker by British authorities "piracy" in a televised speech today saying: "God willing, the Islamic Republic and its committed forces will not leave this evil without a response." Well, maybe they have already responded. The AP is reporting that “Tracking data shows an oil tanker based in the United Arab Emirates traveling through the Strait of Hormuz drifted off into Iranian waters and stopped transmitting its location over two days ago, raising concerns about its status amid heightened tensions between Iran and the U.S. It's not immediately clear what happened to the Panamanian-flagged oil tanker Riah late on Saturday night. However, Capt. Ranjith Raja of the data firm Refinitiv told The Associated Press on Tuesday that the tanker hadn't switched off its tracking in three months of trips around the UAE. Raja said: "That is a red flag." Iranian officials haven't said anything publicly about the ship, nor have officials in the UAE. The U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet, which oversees Mideast waters, declined to immediately comment.”

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