Delta in Jones Act debut

Delta Air Lines has reportedly made its debut in the Jones Act tanker trade fixing a US-flagged vessel.

The US airline’s refining unit Monroe Energy LLC has fixed the 46,000-dwt Seabulk Arctic (built 1998) for two years starting in August.

A Delta spokesman confirmed the charter to Reuters, but provided no further details such as the charter rate.

Monroe is reported to be paying upward of $80,000 per day for the Seabulk Arctic, according to Reuters.

Reports say Monroe has an option to switch to a newbuilding tanker in 2016 for an additional three years.

Seabulk Tankers has three ships on order from General Dynamics’s NASSCO shipyard for delivery from late 2016 onwards.

Observers say the move will allow it to tap directly into cheap Texas shale oil as the company overhauls its supply strategy.

Delta took the refinery industry by surprise in late 2011 when it acquired the Pennsylvania-based Trainer Refinery from ConocoPhillips following its closure.