20.03.2008 - Kuwait Oil Tanker to sell ageing single-hull VLCC

Kuwait Oil Tanker Co (KOTC) is selling one of its older single-hull VLCCs as it continues to search for newbuilding berths in South Korea.

Captain Masood Ali, general manager of fleet marine operations, confirms KOTC is selling the 285,000-dwt Al Samidoon (built 1992).

"The vessel is surplus to our requirements at the moment," he explained.

It is unlikely that an early 1990s-built VLCC such as the Al Samidoon will go for scrap, despite the record-high prices being offered by the scrap buyers, as this type of vessel is a prime candidate for floating production and storage offshore (FPSO) conversion buyers and still commands a premium price.

Last week, TradeWinds reported the 261,000-dwt Tohdoh (built 1991) had been sold for $42.2m. At the time, Greek interests were suggested to be behind the deal but Japan-based Modec has emerged as the buyer. Modec will convert the vessel into an FPSO.

Brokers expect the Al Samidoon would probably fetch a higher price given its size.

KOTC has three similar-age VLCCs in its fleet. The company is in no rush to sell these as they can be used post-2010 by its parent, Kuwait Petroleum, in a storage role as the single-hull ban does not apply if the ships remain in home waters.

KOTC is in the middle of ordering four VLCC in South Korea through a tender process. The company would ideally like to have the ships delivered in 2010, when its single-hull VLCCs will have to be phased out of active trading.

Jonathan Boonzaier, Tradewinds

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