Knutsen NYK Offshore Tankers (KNOT) has returned to Cosco Shipping Heavy Industry Zhoushan Shipyard (Cosco Heavy Zhoushan) for more suezmax shuttle tanker newbuildings.

The shipowner, which has two 154,000-dwt shuttle tankers under construction at the Chinese shipyard for delivery in December 2024 and October 2025, has inked up to four more sister ship newbuildings.

KNOT's latest order is for three firm vessels plus an option for an additional ship.

Cosco Heavy Zhoushan revealed KNOT’s latest newbuilding project on its homepage.

The shipyard did not disclose the delivery date for the latest newbuildings, but one shipbuilding source suggested that they are set slated to be delivered between 2026 and 2027.

No price details have been disclosed for the latest ships, but brokers think each ship would cost more than $100m.

The design of the 279-metre-long tanker has been developed by Cosco Heavy Zhoushan and will be compliant with the International Maritime Organization’s latest NOx-Tier III regulations and Energy Efficiency Design Index Phase 3 requirements. The shuttle tankers will be classed by DNV.

Cosco Heavy Zhoushan said KNOT had ordered a total of 11 suezmax shuttle tankers at the shipyard since their first deal in 2012.

It has already delivered five vessels — the 152,000-dwt Raquel Knutsen (built 2015), Anna Knutsen (built 2017), Tuva Knutsen and Live Knutsen (both built 2021) and the 154,000-dwt Daqing Knutsen (built 2022).

KNOT is a joint venture between Japan’s NYK Group and TS Shipping Invest, which is owned by Haugesund-headquartered Knutsen OAS Shipping chief executive Trygve Seglem and his family.

Cosco Heavy Zhoushan is the third shipyard to have secured suezmax shuttle tanker newbuildings this year. South Korea’s DH Shipbuilding and Samsung Heavy Industries are the other two.

Greek shipowner Maran Tankers has signed up for three units at DH Shipbuilding, while oil major ExxonMobil is reported to have booked four units at SHI.

Maran was reported to have ordered the trio, which are reported to be costing $133m each, against long-term charter contracts of up to 15 years from Brazilian energy company Petrobras.

The conventionally fuelled newbuildings are scheduled to be delivered between the end of 2026 and early 2027.

In contrast, the ExxonMobil newbuildings will be LNG dual-fuel, according to industry sources.