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Oil Tanker Transport

An oil, or petroleum, tanker is a ship used to transport oil in bulk. Generally, there are two types of oil tankers: crude and product tankers.

Crude tankers transport unrefined crude oil from the extraction site to refineries, where it can be processed into commercial products, like fuel. Product tankers are then used to transport these products from refineries to market.

Key fact: The Seawise Giant is the world’s longest oil tanker at 1,504 ft

Oil tankers transport the majority of the world’s energy needs. These ships are designed with a long, flat deck and typically reach lengths of around 1,350 feet. Crude tankers, particularly Very Large and Ultra-Large Crude Carriers (VLCCs and ULCCs), can each carry two to three million barrels of crude oil.

Product tankers can be further divided into two categories: clean and dirty. Clean product tankers transport light petroleum products, such as kerosene, gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel. Dirty product tankers transport heavy petroleum products, like asphalt or tar.

Key fact: Oil tankers move approximately two billion metric tons of oil every year


  • Oil tankers ship more in one go

  • They supply countries with energy needs

  • More efficient than on-road or air transport

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