Greece’s Restis family has ordered its first suezmax tanker newbuildings in six years, booking up to two at DH Shipbuilding.

Shipmanagement and shipbroking sources in Athens are linking Restis tanker company Golden Energy Management to one firm and one optional vessel of 158,000 dwt at the South Korean yard.

Formerly known as Daehan Shipbuilding, DH is said to be delivering the ships in late 2024 or early 2025.

Costing about $77m apiece, the suezmaxes are going to be conventionally fuelled and will not be equipped with scrubbers.

Golden Energy had focused on MRs in recent years.

Six of the 11 oil carriers the company has in the water are 49,800-dwt vessels that it had ordered at K Shipbuilding — previously known as STX Offshore & Shipbuilding — and taken delivery of between 2020 and 2022.

Golden Energy has been making space for these ships by offloading six older MR and LRs on the secondhand market. Carried out since June 2022 in an environment of steadily rising prices, these sales generated gross proceeds of more than $100m for the company, according to TradeWinds estimates.

The Restis family is not new to suezmaxes but had diverted its attention from that sector recently. Golden Energy currently has just one such vessel in its fleet, the 157,500-dwt Energy Triumph (built 2018).

This is one of the two suezmaxes that it ordered in late 2016 at Hyundai Samho, presumably for less than $60m each.

The Restis family refinanced the Energy Triumph in December 2020 through a 10-year sale and bareboat charterback deal worth $57.6m with CSSC (Hong Kong) Shipping.

About two years before, in late 2018, Golden Energy profitably sold sistership Energy Trophy (built 2018) to trading giant Vitol, which is still trading the vessel as Elandra Osprey.

Sniffing around suezmaxes

The Restis clan is not the only shipowner expressing interest in conventionally fuelled suezmax newbuildings lately.

TradeWinds reported last week that John Fredriksen interests were in early discussions for a number of such vessels in China.

George Economou, another major owner, earlier this month firmed up orders for a quartet of conventionally fuelled suezmaxes worth about $280m at Jiangsu-based New Times Shipbuilding in China.

A dearth of newbuildings and a belief that decarbonisation efforts might slow down amid energy insecurity following the Ukraine war may have encouraged owners to plump for traditional tankers.

Some analysts have expressed confidence that a long-term redrawing of Europe’s oil supply routes away from Russia towards alternative suppliers, such as Guyana, might boost demand for suezmaxes.

At just 3.1% of the active fleet, suezmaxes still have one of the lowest orderbook ratios in the industry, on a par with VLCCs, which stand at 2.9%, according to the latest weekly report by Clarksons.