Frontline, one of the world's largest tanker operators, has agreed to sell five "non-eco" VLCCs to an undisclosed buyer for an appreciable sum, leaving it with an all-"eco" fleet.
In general, "eco" tanker designs consume somewhat less bunker fuel than earlier-generation tankers with broader, blunter bows. The fuel savings can amount to a dozen-plus tonnes a day, which translates into thousands of dollars in savings daily.
The five non-eco vessels Frontline has sold off were built in 2009-10. Together, they brought in a total price of $290 million, generating over $200 million in net cash for Frontline after repayment of existing debts. The price reflects a recent upswing in the value of used tanker tonnage.
“We are very pleased with this transaction, capturing firm pricing for 14-15 year old vessels. Frontline has increased its position significantly in the VLCC segment during 2023 and this divestment of our remaining non-eco VLCCs is in line with our strategy of running the most modern, fuel-efficient fleet in the market," said Frontline CEO Lars H. Barstad in a statement.
Frontline is also taking delivery of 24 VLCCs from Euronav, which it gained after a long boardroom battle with the Saverys family. The firm handed $2.4 billion worth of Euronav stock to CMB in exchange for this sizeable fleet. Taken together with the disposal of Frontline's oldest and least-efficient VLCCs, this will leave the firm with a young fleet of 84 tankers and 18 million dwt of capacity. When these transactions are all completed, the average age of Frontline's vessels will be less than six years.