Sovcomflot (SCF Group) has ordered its first tankers at the new Zvezda Shipbuilding Complex in Russia.
The Russian company said it was using VEB Group financing to fund the deal, which will see the 114,000-dwt aframaxes chartered to domestic energy company Rosneft for 20 years.
The LNG-powered vessels are described as "next-generation large-capacity", with ice class 1A/1B notations, which makes them able to operate all year round in areas with difficult ice conditions, including sub-Arctic seas and Russian ports of the Baltic region.
A signing ceremony was attended by Russian President Vladimir Putin. No price was disclosed for the ships.
Last year, Rosneft signed up for a series of five LNG-powered aframax newbuildings at Zvezda.
The energy giant will own the 114,000-dwt tankers, with Sovcomflot taking newbuilding supervision and operational responsibility for the ships.
Rosneft follows Shell
The latest order is significant because Rosneft is now the second charterer after Shell to choose Sovcomflot’s cleaner-burning Green Funnel aframaxes, the owner said.
The technical specifications reflect the regulatory limits on sulphur, nitrogen and greenhouse gas emissions, which will come into effect for the Baltic and North Seas in 2020.
“We welcome the plans of the Russian shipbuilders from Zvezda Shipbuilding Complex to create modern large-capacity vessels using natural gas-based bunkers as their primary fuel. I’m sure that it is with such vessels that the future of merchant shipping lies," Sovcomflot CEO Sergey Frank said.
“I am confident that the experience gained in the technical and commercial operation of SCF’s next generation tankers will be in demand both with our customers and Russian shipbuilders, helping to consolidate the leadership of Russian companies in the implementation of green technologies in maritime transport."
Sovcomflot also has five aframaxes and an LNG carrier on order at Hyundai Samho and a shuttle tanker at Samsung.