Kuwait to receive new oil tankers much earlier.
Kuwait is expected to take delivery of a South Korean-made new giant crude oil tanker in October, the first of a fleet of four 318,000-ton tankers, much earlier than its due date, head of state-run Kuwait Oil Tanker Company (KOTC) said in Seoul Tuesday. "These supertankers were originally scheduled to arrive in Kuwait between 2011 and 2012, but due to the global financial crisis, Daewoo Engineering and Construction Co. will achieve one year ahead of schedule," KOTC's Chairman and Managing Director Nabil Bourisli said in an interview with Kuwait News Agency (KUNA). The remaining three tankers will follow in every three month.
"The new addition is part of the second phase of our fleet renewal plan involving the construction of four Very Large Crude Carriers (VLCCs) and three oil product carriers," said Bourisli, who is currently visiting South Korea.
KOTC, a subsidiary of Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPCKPC), signed a contract in August 2008 with the world's third-largest shipping firm to buy four VLCCs at a cost of USD 176.9 million each. As demand for new tankers has recently shrunk in world markets amid recession, Daewoo later agreed to slightly reduce the final price, according to Bourisli. "We will also benefit from early resumption of tanker operations by KPC's own vessels for crude shipments to the United States," he said. Since 1993, KPC has been using chartered tankers from outside companies for US-bound exports.
KOTC, which is responsible for providing Kuwait strategic need of tankers, also plans to announce within two months the winner of a tender to build three petroleum product carriers, he said.
The project comes in line with the company's objective to upgrade its entire fleet as the old tankers are being put out of service. "Meanwhile, KOTC has already won approval for constructing nine more tankers under the third phase of its fleet revamp plan, which is to commence later this year," the chairman said, adding that the completion of the third stage will result in incorporation of 25 new vessels by 2015, including 12 VLCCs. KOTC had added nine tankers to its fleet through the first phase of expansion program.
All new tankers have double hulls in accordance with international regulation calling for ship owners to stop operating single-hull oil tankers by the end of 2010. To date, KOTC has sold its three aging single-hull tankers, the chairman disclosed.