Energy trader Onex DMCC is being named as the company behind an order for product tankers in South Korea.

HD Korea Shipbuilding & Offshore Engineering revealed on Monday that it had struck a deal with an unnamed Middle East company for two product carrier newbuildings.

It said Ulsan-based Hyundai Mipo Dockyard will construct the pair. Delivery is scheduled for December 2026.

HDKSOE did not disclose the identity of the buyer or the size of the ships but said they are worth KRW 148.4bn ($108m), or $54m each.

Shipbuilding players said that based on the price, the order was for 50,000-dwt MR tankers.

They believe Dubai-based Onex DMCC is behind the deal, as it has been in touch with Hyundai shipyards for new MR2s.

Onex has been contacted for comment.

One newbuilding broker thinks the $54m price tag for a scrubber-fitted 50,000-dwt product carrier is a record for the ship type.

Clarksons’ Shipping Intelligence Network shows an MR newbuilding was priced at $52.5m in 2007 and $53m in 2008.

Three months ago, South Korea’s Pan Ocean made headlines when it was reported to have paid $51.75m each for two MR tankers at HMD. The deal was the first to breach the $50m barrier since the 2008 global financial crisis.

The price of an MR newbuilding has increased by around 16% from a year ago. Strong demand for newbuildings of all ship types, coupled with inflation and shipyards’ strong orderbooks, are cited as reasons for the spike in price.

If Onex is behind the order of the two MRs, it will be the second newbuilding contract it has ever signed.

In 2019, it commissioned Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries to build three LR2 tankers at a reported price of $55m each.

Onex took delivery of the 114,600-dwt On Peace, On Phoenix and On Precious in 2021. VesselsValue lists their market value at around $84m each.

Onex is operating two of the ships, while the On Precious is trading in Scorpio pools.

Onex DMCC describes itself as an independent trading house and a subsidiary of Onex Group — a major private infrastructure group focused on power generation, distribution, renewables, commodity trading, shipping and refining, as well as super-prime real estate and telecoms.

It says it owns five aframax/LR2 vessels and its managed fleet includes MR tankers.

A tanker source said the company has operations in the Middle East, the Mediterranean and the Far East, and it trades mainly oil from the Black Sea to the East.