Apr 28, 2020 - Energy & Environment

Tankers idling off California coast illustrate global oil glut

Oil tankers parked in the ocean.
Photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Aidan Cooney, U.S. Coast Guard

Oil tankers are parked off the California coast instead of unloading — a stark sign of the global glut now that demand has collapsed and storage is filling up.

Driving the news: There are 20 oil tankers anchored off southern California ports, with 15 that may remain for an unknown and extended period, while five are slated to offload in the next several days.

  • That's according to Captain Kip Louttit of the Marine Exchange of Southern California, which operates vessel traffic in the region on behalf of the U.S. Coast Guard.

The big picture: "About three dozen massive oil tankers are anchored from Los Angeles and Long Beach up to San Francisco Bay, turning into floating storage for crude oil that is in short demand because of the coronavirus," NPR reports.

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