* Buys VLCC to store gasoil in Mediterranean -company
* Company looking to expand business in Europe
By Jessica Jaganathan
SINGAPORE, Oct 11 Hong Kong-based trader Winson
Oil has bought a very large crude carrier (VLCC) to store oil in
the Mediterranean as it pushes to expand its business in Europe,
two company sources said.
The step could boost Asian gasoil margins if the firm enters
the spot market to make large purchases to fill the vessel,
Winson bought the VLCC in July for $28 million and has
renamed it Winson No. 5, one of the sources said on Tuesday,
declining to be identified as he was not authorised to speak
The ship is currently docked in Shenzhen, China for repairs
and maintenance and will be moved in about 1 or 2 months, ready
to receive oil products.
"The plan is to store gasoil and the ship will first travel
to Singapore and eventually to the Mediterranean Sea as offshore
inventory storage," the source said. He did not give a timeframe
for the move to Europe.
The vessel was built in 2001 and can hold around 2 million
barrels of oil, according to shipping data on the Reuters Eikon
The step is part of the company's plans to expand in Europe,
the source said. Winson Oil will trade in European markets from
an office that was incorporated in Dubai in February, he added.
Storing gasoil in VLCCs is unusual as it can be more
expensive than using tanks on land, but some of the costs can be
mitigated by owning a vessel.
With its headquarters in Hong Kong, Winson Oil has recently
been stepping up its oil trading activities in Singapore, where
its trading arm is based, routinely buying gasoil from Taiwan
and selling it as bunker fuel into North Asia.
The company has offices in Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan,
China, Dubai and other Asian countries, and has a fleet of more
than 25 vessels, according to its website.
The company has no plans to reduce its leasing of tanks
onshore to store gasoil due to the purchase of the VLCC, the
VLCC charter rates from the Middle East to Asia hit a new
four-month high on Monday at around $40,200 per day.
(Reporting by Jessica Jaganathan; Additional reporting by Keith
Wallis; Editing by Joseph Radford)