Greek shipowner George Economou is set to order a series of suezmax tanker newbuildings worth about $280m in China.

Shipbuilding sources said Economou’s TMS Tankers signed a letter of intent (LOI) with Jiangsu-based New Times Shipbuilding for four conventionally fuelled 157,000-dwt crude carriers last month.

If discussions go well, the official contract may be sealed before the year ends.