Euronav Seeks Second Mover's Advantage Taking on First Scrubber-Equipped VLCCs

by Ship & Bunker News Team
Wednesday February 12, 2020

Shipping company Euronav has taken on its first scrubber-equipped tankers, the company said Wednesday, despite its earlier skepticism towards the emissions-cleaning systems.

The company has agreed to buy three new scrubber-equipped VLCCs currently under construction in South Korea for $280.5 million, it said in a regulatory filing.

The ships are due to be delivered between the fourth quarter of this year and February 2021.

Former Euronav CEO Paddy Rodgers, who left the company last year, was a firm critic of scrubbers.

After the arrival of new CEO Hugo De Stoop, Euronav said in September that it it still had time to take advantage of strong scrubber economics early in the IMO 2020 transition.

"Euronav believes it can still fully capture the potential benefits of an investment in scrubbers after the start of the regulation," the company said in a statement in September.

"At that time, the derivatives market of LSFO should have developed in size and in volume which allow Euronav to fully lock in the benefits of the spread at the time of making the investment.

This should even provide Euronav with a "second mover advantage" in learning the flaws of the first round of installations and take a decision based on facts without having to speculate."

However, if the company does not receive its first scrubber-equipped tanker until the fourth quarter of this year, it is unlikely to see as much benefit from its scrubbers as those who had them equipped in time for January 1 of this year. 

The spread between high sulfur fuel oil and very low sulfur fuel oil -- indicating the advantage to be had from using a scrubber -- was at its widest at the start of this year, and is widely forecast to narrow steadily over time.