Roger Vielvoye International Editor A surge in construction of large crude oil tankers is well under way. It started during the first 6 months of this year, when shipyards' order books for vessels of more than 200,000 dwt nearly doubled while orders for tankers of 100,000-200,000 dwt climbed by more than 25%. The burst of orders was a response by tanker owners to the belief that growing world dependence on crude oil imports from the Middle East in the 1990s will bolster freight rates. One of the prime growth markets predicted for Middle East crude is the U.S., easily the world's biggest customer for cr...

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