Japan VLCC newbuilding negotiations underway

Negotiations for around 20 VLCC newbuildings are underway as Japanese oil companies seek to renew their ageing fleets, according to local sources.

The likes of the JXTG Group’s shipping arm JX Ocean, Idemitsu Tanker and Cosmo Oil Group have been running behind on fleet renewal plans as they have prioritised recent consolidation moves among the country’s oil majors.

JX Ocean has four VLCCs built between 2002 and 2004 that will require replacement over the coming years.

The outfit recently sold the 298,000-dwt Nichinori (built 2002), which was replaced by a newbuilding from Japan Marine United.

JX Ocean has also stated its intention to grow the VLCC fleet in the prospect of winning more third-party business.

Idemitsu Tanker has two VLCCs, the 265,353-dwt Super Zearth (built 1995) and 300,544-dwt Nissho Maru (built 2004), which are also ripe for renewal.

Japan’s major tanker owners also have tonnage on charter to domestic oil majors that is ready for replacement.

Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK) has six VLCCs built between 2002 and 2004 and Mitsui OSK Lines five in the same age bracket.

Japanese fleet renewal has begun to pick up since the summer.

Since July, Japanese oil and shipping companies have sold four VLCCs for further trading, while NYK ordered four VLCC newbuildings in Japan.