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Homeless Gasoline Tankers Are Drifting Around the Caribbean

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                Homeless Gasoline Tankers Are Drifting Around the Caribbean

A few gasoline cargoes around the Caribbean Isles are looking for homes.

Three tankers holding about 1.35 million barrels of gasoline and alkylate, an octane-boosting component blended with motor fuels, are drifting with no instructions for delivery. The cargoes came from India with intent to land in the U.S., but now they’re in limbo as traders from Trafigura Group Ltd. and Mercuria Energy Group Ltd. shop around for the best selling value in the region.

Trafigura left the River Shiner drifting north of the Bahamas after the India-loaded gasoline cargo was diverted away from its New York Harbor destination earlier this week. Mercuria’s alkylate cargo aboard Spottail, which also loaded in India, has floated near Freeport, Bahamas, since March 27. Another Mercuria-chartered ship, Lake Trout, has drifted in the Gulf of Mexico for nearly two weeks.

Representatives of Trafigura and Mercuria declined to comment on the ships or their potential landing places.

“My sense of it is these may be barrels that end up in Venezuela,” Robert Campbell, head of oil products research for Energy Aspects, said by phone from New York. “They tend to bring in alkylate.”

Supplies are dangerously low in Venezuela, he said, and most of the country’s fluid catalytic cracker units that make gasoline are out of commission. Two gasoline tankers from Europe were diverted to Venezuela this week after state-owned Petroleos de Venezuela said it would boost imports after a traffic-stopping shortage in Caracas last month.

“Most of the FCCs if not all of them are down again,” Campbell said.

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