Jun 17, 2019 - Energy & Environment

The push to secure oil tankers

oil tankers

Tanker ships in the Gulf of Oman off the coast of the UAE. Photo: Giuseppe Cacace/AFP/Getty Images

The weekend brought fresh pledges to protect oil tankers following last week's attacks in the Gulf of Oman, but markets picked up where they left off Friday, reacting more to bearish economic signs than heightened security fears.

Why it matters: Over 18 million barrels of oil per day — nearly a fifth of global demand — pass through the Strait of Hormuz.

Where it stands: The security of oil moving through the strait was prominent at a previously scheduled weekend meeting of G20 energy ministers in Japan, per S&P Global Platts and other reports.

  • The summit communique states: "In light of recent developments highlighting concerns about energy security, the G20 Energy Ministers acknowledge energy security as one of the guiding principles for the transformation of energy systems," Bloomberg reports.

What they're saying: "We always defend freedom of navigation. We are going to work to build out a set of countries that have deep vested interest in keeping that strait open to help us do that," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Sunday on CBS News' "Face the Nation," noting Asian nations' reliance on oil moved through the area.

But, but, but: Economic headwinds are checking oil prices despite the rise in geopolitical tensions.

  • "Oil prices slipped on Monday as signs of an economic slowdown amid international trade disputes began to outweigh supply fears that were stoked by attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman last week and sent prices higher," Reuters reports.
  • However, there are already other costs. A bunch of stories, like this Bloomberg piece, note surging prices for insuring tankers moving through the region.

Go deeper: A crude tug of war on the global oil market

Go deeper