eia.gov: Расширение Панамского канала и экспорт углеводородов США

With the exception of U.S. propane exports, the expansion of the Panama Canal is not likely to drastically affect crude oil and petroleum product flows.

The economics of shipping crude oil and petroleum products improve as the size of the ship increases along with distance traveled. Crude oil typically is loaded on vessels classified as Very Large Crude Carriers (VLCC) or Ultra-Large Crude Carriers (ULCC), both of which are too large to transit the Panama Canal fully laden, even through the new locks.

Petroleum products are typically loaded on several smaller vessels, some of which can transit the existing and new canal dimensions, depending on a ship’s hull design and restrictions on depth in water (draft). This means that most of the petroleum-related traffic through the canal will be petroleum products rather than crude oil.

Previously, the size limitations of the canal created logistical bottlenecks for U.S. propane exports to reach markets in Asia, forcing shippers to perform ship-to-ship transfers. The new, larger Panama Canal locks will allow most Very Large Gas Carriers (VLGC), the type of ship that carries propane and other hydrocarbon gas liquids (HGL), to transit, likely reducing or even ending the practice of ship-to-ship transfers.

http://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.cfm?id=26792

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