Thank you, Nikos, and good morning to all of you joining our earnings call.
So let me start by saying that we're currently seeing a bouncing freight markets in the larger-sized vessels compared to the summer months and the year-to-date average rates. Spot rates for VLCCs and Suezmax', on average, are currently 4 to 5x higher than the year-to-date average. And we expect this improvement to continue across all vessel types as we enter the seasonally strong fourth quarter. The anticipation of this improvement, we consider it to be sustainable, considering that oil demand continues to recover from the demand losses of last year. Global oil inventories that built last year continue to grow and are below the five-year average in all major economies and geographies. Mobility statistics in the U.S.A., China and Europe are improving, and the strong demand recovery of 2021 will continue next year when we expect to be at the pre-COVID demand levels by the end of 2022. OPEC+ has now restored almost 50% of the initial 10 million-plus production cuts and is adding from August, 400,000 barrels per day every month until the 5 million barrels per day of current supply cuts are phased out, which is expected to happen at the end of the third quarter of 2022 based on the current OPEC+ plans. And of course, supply of new tankers continues to be at low historical levels while the global fleet is getting older, and new upcoming environmental regulations are expected to phase out the big part of the agent fleet.
Let's move now to the slides of our presentation. In Slide 3, we see that in TEN since inception in 1993, we have faced four major crises. But this time, the Company, thanks to its operating model, which is built to be crisis-resistant, has come out stronger. We started with four modern tankers in 1993, and we currently have a pro forma fleet of 71 vessels for an average annual growth of 15% in terms of deadweight tons in the four decades we operate. In the next slide, we see the pro forma fleet and its current employment profile.
We have a combination of vessels in fixed time charters and flexible employment contracts, time charter with profit sharing, CoAs and spot ratings that capture the market's upside. All dark blue color vessels, 20 in the slides, are on fixed rate time charters, while the light blue and red colored vessels or 69% of the fleet currently in the water have exposure in the market's upside.
So that means that TEN is very well positioned to capture the positive tanker market fundamentals and the recovery in freight rates. And of course, we took advantage of the low freight environment to bring forward a number of scheduled special surveys to have these vessels available once the target tanker freight market rebounds. And since fleet modernity is a key element of our operating model, during the first half of 2021, we concluded the sale of three of our older tankers, a 2003-built Panamax tanker and 2005-built Suezmax tankers, which will be replaced with six new buildings. Plus two options that will enhance the Company's environmental footprint as the four plus two newbuilding Aframax tankers are LNG-powered Dual-Fuel vessels, the first such investments in the Company's history.
In addition, we are building one more DP2 Shuttle Tanker and one LNG carriers. All firm six new buildings are coming with long-term employment attached. In Slide 5, the left side presents the all-in breakeven cost for the various vessel types we operate in TEN.
As you can see, the cost base continues to be low. And during the first half of '21, the revenue generated from the time charter contracts was again sufficient to cover the Company's cash expenses, paying for all vessel OpEx, overheads, chartering costs and loan interest.
In addition to the low shipbuilding costs, we must highlight the purchasing power of TCM, the continuous cost control efforts by management to maintain a low OpEx average for the fleet and the low general and administrative expenses, while keeping a very high fleet utilization rates. Quarter after quarter, despite bringing forward scheduled dry dockings, we achieved overall, 92% plus utilization for the fleet. And of course, thanks to the profit-sharing element, a cornerstone of TEN's chartering strategy for every $1,000 increase in spot rates. This has a positive impact of $0.62 in the annual EPS based on the number of 10 vessels that currently have exposure in the spot market. Debt reduction is also very important, and it's part of the capital allocation strategy of the Company. Since our debt peaked in December of 2016, we have repaid $340 million of debt and repurchased $100 million in two series of step-up preferred sales we had outstanding.
In addition to bringing down debt, growing the Company through timely sale and purchase and new building acquisitions, we continued to reward shareholders with dividend payments. We paid $0.10 per share dividend to the common shareholders on July 20, 2021. TEN has rewarded the Company's shareholders with almost $0.5 billion in dividend payments or on average, $26 million per annum since the New York Stock Exchange listing in 2002.
Looking at the markets, global oil demand continues to recover from the unprecedented collapse because of the COVID pandemic and the measures to contain it. 2020 was the first year of negative growth since the period of great recession in 2008 and 2009. Year-end demand was approximately 8.6 million barrels per day below the levels of the 2019 year-end demand figures of approximately 100 million barrels per day. Most of the losses were in jet and aviation fuel.
We expect demand growth of 5.2 million barrels per day for 2021 and 3.2 million barrels per day growth in 2022. Bearing non-foreseen developments with COVID variants, we will most probably reach the pre-COVID oil demand levels at the end of next year.
On the global supply front -- on the global supply front, OPEC+ producers continue to manage supply with discipline. Almost half of the 10 million barrels per day production cuts have returned to the market. The plan is for monthly increases of 400,000 barrels per day, which OPEC+ reduce and adjust in their monthly scheduled meetings.
As we enter winter in the Northern Hemisphere and peak seasonal demand, the release of additional barrels to the market should be a positive -- a further positive catalyst for tanker demand and tanker rates. Slide 9. With oil demand recovering, let us look at the forecast of the supply cost. The order book as of September stands at around 340 tankers over the next three years or 6.8%, which is the lowest order book in more than 20 years. At the same time, a big part of the fleet, 1,500 vessels or almost 30% of the fleet is over 15 years and 382 tankers or 7.5% of the [cap car] and tanker fleet are currently over 20 years. Upcoming environmental regulations could push more tankers approaching or above 20 years to go for scrapping. In the next slide, we see that 2018 was the highest drop in years of records, with 21.9 million deadweight ton removed from the market. Last year and the year before, as expected, scrapping was lower. We had a strong August this year and with scrap prices at very high levels, $600 per light weight.
We have so far seen 135 vessels exiting the market or 10.4 million deadweight ton. With modern environmental regulations and 7.5% of the global fleet above 20 years, we expect the scrapping numbers for 2021 to increase, helping further the supply side of the business. To summarize, oil demand, we see strong recovery to continue.
On the supply of oil, monthly production increases of at least 400,000 barrels per day by OPEC+, are bringing more cargoes to the market at the time when global oil stocks are below the five-year average levels, and demand is increasing towards the pre-COVID levels.
On the order book and supply of tankers, the order book to current fleet ratio is at historical low levels. A big part of the fleet is reaching phase-out edge, which all points to a tighter supply of tankers for the next 18 to 24 months.
Our company's balance sheet, we have built a crisis resistant operating model.
We have a modern fleet well positioned to capture the market developments as we enter the seasonally strong fourth quarter.
We continue to reduce debt, we have a strong balance sheet and strong banking relationships that will allow the Company to take advantage of the opportunities that will be presented. And lastly, looking at how other shipping sectors are doing, freight rates and asset prices for both containers and bulk carriers continue to be very strong. And if past history can be guidance for the future, there is always a time lag for the positive spillover effect to the lagging shipping sectors and short tankers should be the next shipping sector to enjoy a better freight rate environment. Supporting the above is increased activity from major end users for long-term business, which, in our view, is a vote of confidence that the recovery of the market is nearby.
With the expectation of much better days ahead, I will ask Paul to walk you through the financial highlights of the second quarter and first half 2021. Paul?