Kuwait and Cairo-based Arab Maritime Petroleum Transport Company (AMPTC) has returned to Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) for product tanker newbuildings.

The Middle East tanker owner whom has stayed away from the shipbuilding market in the last five years, has made the dash for dual-fuelled LR2 tankers by signing up for four newbuildings worth close to $328m.

According to shipbuilding sources, AMPTC's newbuildings contract at HHI are firm vessels and the deal does not include any option units.

Officials at HHI declined to disclose on the shipyard's newbuilding activities citing contract confidentiality and AMPTC was not available for comment.

Sources said the Middle East tanker owner is paying close to $82m each for the 114,000-dwt product carrier newbuildings. It is slated to take delivery of them between third quarter 2023 and second quarter of 2024.

AMPTC has a fleet of 11 product tankers, two VLGCs and one aframax crude carrier. It is a joint venture of nine different governments -Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Libya, UAE, Iraq, Algeria, Bahrain and Egypt.

The last time it ordered newbuildings was between end 2015 and mid-2016 when it signed up for six ice-class 158,000-dwt product tankers at HHI for a reported price of $65m apiece. It has since taken delivery of the sextet.

Shipping sources said AMPTC's shipping activities is carried out from Cairo. The company's website states that it deals directly or indirectly with oil majors and first-class charterers that includes BP Shipping, ConocoPhillips, Abu Dhabu National Tanker Co, ExxonMobil and many others.

Clarksons' Shipping Intelligence Network shows the orderbook of LR2 stands at 44 units of which only 18 vessels are LNG dual-fuelled ships.

In a regulatory filing, Korea Shipbuilding & Offshore Engineering Co (KSPE)- a holding company of HHI, Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries and Hyundai Mipo Dockyard disclosed the order of the four LR2 newbuildings but did not reveal the buyer's identity.

KSOE, a subsidiary of Hyundai Heavy Industries Holdings, said 60% of the 61 LNG dual-fuelled petrochemical tankers that were ordered this year will be built by the group's shipyards.

The South Korean shipbuilding group has clinched newbuilding orders worth $16.75bn as of the end of September, surpassing its annual target of $14.9bn.