UK shipowner Purus Marine is being linked to a pair of very large ethane carrier (VLEC) newbuildings that have been netted by HD Hyundai Heavy Industries at a red-hot price.

HD Korea Shipbuilding & Offshore Engineering, the shipyard holding arm of HD Hyundai Group, said it had won a $340m contract from an “Asian shipper” to build two VLECs.

This prices them at $170m each, which the shipbuilding group said is a record for a VLEC.

The 98,000-cbm vessels, which will be built by HD HHI, are due for delivery in the first half of 2027.

Newbuilding sources following the sector named Purus as the contracting party on the two vessels, which are understood to have been backed by term-charter deals with chemicals giant Ineos.

TradeWinds has contacted both companies for confirmation and further details.

These look set to be the first VLEC additions to Purus’ rapidly expanding fleet.

The company lists its gas ships as four LNG carriers and seven midsize gas carriers, all of which are under construction.

Purus is also building vessels for the wind turbine installation and construction sector.

Ineos now boasts a fleet of at least 10 VLECs. A year ago, it signed long-term time-charter deals with Japan’s Iino Kaiun Kaisha on two 99,000-cbm VLECs that will deliver in 2025 and 2026.

The price of VLECs has risen along with other ship types over the past two years.

In October 2022, China’s Pacific Gas ordered four VLECs priced at about $130m each against Ineos charters.

Including this latest contract, HD KSOE has notched up orders for 71 gas carriers this year — 39 LNG carriers, 28 LPG and ammonia carriers, two liquefied CO2 ships and two VLECs.