The National Shipping Company of Saudi Arabia (Bahri) has signed a contract with Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries (HSHI), an affiliate of South Korea-based Hyundai Heavy Industries, to build additional five very large crude carriers (VLCC).
The new development follows Bahri exercising an option included in the previous contract, which was signed in May this year.
Under the previous agreement, Bahri ordered five VLCCs from Hyundai Samho and the new order brings the total number of vessels to ten.
The new-builds are intended to replace the existing vessels in the fleet.
During the signing of the original deal, Bahri CEO engineer Ibrahim Abdulrahman Al-Omar said: "This ship order will ensure that Bahri remain competitive in the shipping market, support its efforts to expand its customer base, and ensure reliable and efficient services."
The new vessels are expected to be delivered between 2017 and 2018.
These 300,000dwt carriers, featuring the latest international technical specifications, will be equipped with environmentally friendly specifications and highly efficient fuel consumption.
Vessels agreed in the initial contract are scheduled for delivery in 2017.
In April, Bahri signed a contract of affreightment (CoA) with S-Oil Corporation, Seoul, South to transport crude oil cargoes on VLCCs from the Arabian Gulf and Red Sea to Onsan, Korea, for a period of ten years.
Commercial operation under the deal is expected to start in the third quarter of this year.
Bahri is now the sole provider of VLCC crude oil shipping services to the Saudi Arabian Oil Company (Aramco).