Norwegian shipping tycoon John Fredriksen has started a new round of tanker fleet expansion with a newbuilding program in China that could see a total outlay in the region of $564m if all options are declared.
Shipbroking sources told Splash that Seatankers Management has placed an order at Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding (SWS) for up to four 115,000 dwt scrubber-fitted LR2 tankers, including a firm contract for two vessels and options for another two.
Additionally, another John Fredriksen-controlled company, which is believed to be Frontline, is in advanced negotiations with the yard for two VLCCs plus two options. Currently Frontline owns 14 VLCCs.
Officials at SWS declined to comment when contacted by Splash.
Prices today for a newbuild LR2 tanker stand at around $48m, according to VesselsValue, while newbuild VLCCs are going for around $93m according to the online ship pricing platform.
Fredriksen has mainly focused on bulker newbuilds in the past two years, having a total of 18 bulkers and nine LNG carriers on order via his affiliate companies.